Peaceways Pet Crematorium
  • Blog
  • 10th of February 2023

Raystede backs RWAF campaign for change in legislation to improve rabbit welfare

RWAF is demanding a change in legislation to ensure rabbit breeders require the same licensing as dog and cat breeders to ensure rabbits are no longer subjected to poor welfare.

About the campaign

Raystede Centre for Animal Welfare supports the Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund’s breeding amnesty and Adopt Don’t Shop campaign and petition [Adopt Don't Shop - Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF)].

The measures proposed by the campaign - an immediate pause in the breeding of rabbits, retailers to stop selling rabbits, classified sites to stop allowing adverts for baby rabbits and the public being urged to support rescue and ‘adopt don’t shop’ - would help rabbits and prevent rescue centres like Raystede being overrun with abandoned rabbits.

The crisis facing Raystede

Matthew Gough, Head of Animal Welfare at Raystede, says,

“We were asked to take 605 rabbits over the past 12 months (February 2022 to January 2023). On average, that’s 50 rabbits per month - a huge number and far more than we have seen in the past. The number of rabbits being given up for rehoming suddenly rocketed in Summer 2021 and hasn't abated since.

Raystede has 16 rabbit enclosures. On 1 February 2023, we had 22 rabbits at Raystede waiting for homes – we are completely full, we cannot take any more. We really are at the sharp end of the problem, there are simply too many rabbits needing rehoming and the demand for rabbits simply isn’t there - in January 2023, there were 45 people wanting to surrender their rabbits to Raystede; we rehomed just 1 rabbit. We currently have 22 rabbits belonging to 11 owners on our ‘waiting list’– we have encouraged all the others to keep and care for their rabbits or find another solution, but the situation is untenable.

There are lots of reasons people why people want to give up their rabbits, from loss of interest and lack of time to moving home, rabbits no longer getting on with each other and a small number who can no longer afford to care for their rabbit. We are doing everything we can to provide information and advice to help people look after their rabbits better and to persuade them to keep their pets."

The crisis facing Raystede

Matthew Gough, Head of Animal Welfare at Raystede, says,

“We were asked to take 605 rabbits over the past 12 months (February 2022 to January 2023). On average, that’s 50 rabbits per month - a huge number and far more than we have seen in the past. The number of rabbits being given up for rehoming suddenly rocketed in Summer 2021 and hasn't abated since.

Raystede has 16 rabbit enclosures. On 1 February 2023, we had 22 rabbits at Raystede waiting for homes – we are completely full, we cannot take any more. We really are at the sharp end of the problem, there are simply too many rabbits needing rehoming and the demand for rabbits simply isn’t there - in January 2023, there were 45 people wanting to surrender their rabbits to Raystede; we rehomed just 1 rabbit. We currently have 22 rabbits belonging to 11 owners on our ‘waiting list’– we have encouraged all the others to keep and care for their rabbits or find another solution, but the situation is untenable.

There are lots of reasons people why people want to give up their rabbits, from loss of interest and lack of time to moving home, rabbits no longer getting on with each other and a small number who can no longer afford to care for their rabbit. We are doing everything we can to provide information and advice to help people look after their rabbits better and to persuade them to keep their pets."

Sign the petition

RWAF’s campaign to stop breeding and sales would address the problem, not immediately but in the next year or so, thus eventually stopping the flow of ‘new’ rabbits onto the market and driving people who want rabbits to go to rescue centres like Raystede and adopt.

We would urge everyone to get behind RWAF’s campaign and sign the petition to help improve the welfare of and reduce the numbers of unwanted rabbits.

Sign the petition here