Save our pet rabbits from myxomatosis

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Rabbit owners across Adelaide are bearing the brunt of a new myxomatosis outbreak. For decades, the Australian Government has used the myxomatosis and calici viruses to control the wild rabbit population. Whilst rabbit owners are permitted to vaccinate against one strain of calici (of which there are multiple strains), there is a ban on vaccinating against myxomatosis. There is a vaccine available for myxomatosis in the UK and the company which produces it has a subsidiary here in Australia. This company has made a previous attempt to have the import ban lifted, which was rejected.

 

Due to the Australian Government’s stubbornness and lack of empathy, rabbits are dying across the greater Adelaide metropolitan area. The wild rabbit population has already developed resistance to this disease, contradicting the chief argument the Government uses to continue the importation ban. Furthermore, the vaccine is non-persistent and not transferrable between rabbits, meaning negligible risk of it spreading to wild populations. In domestic rabbits, chances of survival are almost nil, with vets recommending euthanasia to prevent prolonged and terrible suffering.

 

Although wild rabbits cause damage to the environment, controlling their numbers through disease is inherently cruel. Preventing rabbit owners and breeders from protecting their animals from this disease compounds the cruelty. The Australian Government needs to immediately lift the ban on the importation of this vaccine so that responsible rabbit owners across Australia can protect their beloved pets.

 



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