Rural King Please Stop Selling Domestic Rabbits

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We the Petitioners respectfully request that Rural King stand with Tractor Supply who made the compassionate decision to cease all rabbit sales in their stores in 2012.

We also respectfully request a USDA statewide investigation into the cruelty of the animals at Rural King stores, having over 100 stores in a twelve state area.

Rural King not only sells domestic rabbits at Easter but all year long while contributing to the unwanted and dumped rabbits in both shelters and in the wild, where they rarely survive either fate. Unwanted rabbits also end up on Craigslist where they are given away Free often resluting in live dog bait, live feeding to snakes, eaten by humans or killed by animals abusers.
References can be found all over the internet of baby rabbits being purchased as pets from Rural King while they supply the public with animals appearing to be purchased from questionably inspected back yard breeders.

Because of over population, over a million cats and dogs are euthanized each year. Additionally, many pet rabbits are rendered homeless when they are gifted to individuals who later abandon them after their "novelty" has worn off. Restricting the retail sale of cats, dogs and rabbits will increase the demand to adopt animals from animal shelters and rescue organizations, which will in turn help more shelter animals find loving homes. It will also reduce the number of pets that are gifted to owners who may not want them and who may not be knowledgeable about the care and cost of keeping a companion animal. Finally, it would reduce the financial burden on taxpayers for the care and euthanasia of unwanted animals left at an animal control facility, or picked up by animal control agents because they are abandoned.

There are also valid concerns over the welfare of the animals in the Rural King stores across the state.
Several instances of alleged sick or dead animals reported online being seen in store cages, animals dying shortly after purchase and claims of a back room "hospital" where rabbits and chicks are left without Vet care, food or water to suffer and die as well as news reports of live chicks thrown in dumpsters.  Some Baby rabbits appear to be under 2 months old often seen in the store photos.

March 2017 -Concerns over Animal Welfare at Local Farm Supply Store
Back room "chick hospital" was a galvanized tub with quite a few dead chickens in it.
"Hatfield said this is not a new problem. Last year, she received reports of bunnies dying daily at Rural King in addition to chicks".

May 2017 - Mistreatment of animal allegations

March 2015 - Sick live baby chicks seen thrown into garbage dumpster at Rural King.

July 2014 - Alleged Consumer complaint: Carbondale Illinois store is selling sick and dying baby rabbits and the manager refuses to acknowledge complaints.

July 2014- Alleged investigation by Illinois Department of Agriculture Animal Cruelty Department into the death of two dutch rabbits purchased at the Carbondale Illinois Rural King store.  One laying sick in store died within 2 hours of purchase, the mate 72 hours later.  Alleged report of Ileus -gastrointestinal shutdown, deadly bloat, bacterial infection, and parasitic infestation (contagious).  Described as malnourished and skeletal . (Referenced in petition photo). 

May 2017 - Complaints - of baby pigs 8.5 weeks and 9.5 weeks old still trying to nurse for sale at Rural King.

Adopt Don't Shop

References
New York City Council outlawed the bunny trade to help curb a glut of unwanted rabbits at city shelters by people who had second thoughts about caring for the rabbits.  Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles also have laws banning the sale of rabbits by pet stores. 
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-newyork-rabbits-idUSKBN0JV2SD20141217

Retail pet store sales bans are a welcome trend, here is a list of the jurisdictions in the United States and Canada which have passed such legislation.
https://bestfriends.org/resources/jurisdictions-retail-pet-sale-bans

California bill would ban selling pets bought from breeders.
https://calcoastnews.com/2017/04/california-bill-ban-selling-pets-bought-breeders/



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