Oppose Legislation Unfairly Restricting Hobby Rabbit Breeders

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Petition to Oppose A8526-B & S8105 Bills banning hobby rabbit breeders selling to pet stores in NYS

The above numbered bills would prohibit anyone other than shelters, rescues, and “licensed” rabbit breeders to sell culls to pet stores or dealers. This is unfair to hobby rabbit breeders as there is no ban by our parent clubs to utilize dealers or stores as an outlet for culls. The USDA already regulates hobby rabbit breeders selling wholesale if they gross over $500 per year. There is no need to further regulate or restrict rabbit breeders in NYS.

The USDA under the Animal Welfare Act already regulates rabbit breeders who sell to pet stores or dealers. The licensing threshold is grossing $500 or more per year to these sources requires a USDA license.

47% of hobby show rabbit breeders sell to pet stores (Rabbit Education Society breeder survey)

The American Rabbit Breeders Assoc, National Specialty clubs, State Rabbit Breeder Associations, local all breed and regional specialty breed clubs have no ban on show rabbit breeders selling culls to pet stores or dealers. This activity is viewed as legitimate and responsible.

NYS exempts shelters and rescues from the pet dealer law so that basically they are allowed to sell to pet stores and dealers but are exempt from complying to the same standards dog and cat pet dealers are required to. This bill adds rabbits to the pet dealer law and only allow “licensed” rabbit breeders to sell to stores and dealers and to comply with standards written for dogs. Rabbits are not dogs, they have species specific differences and a one size fits all standard does not apply.

Rabbit rescues and shelters have been documented importing rabbits in from other states to resell aka “adopt”. Rabbit rescues have been known to purchase rabbits off craigslist, at livestock auctions, from meat rabbit breeders, and show breeders under false pretense to resell aka adopt from their organizations. March 2018 a rabbit rescue in CA spent $700 of donations to buy rabbits at a livestock auction to resell as “unwanted pets”. It is not logical to allow these organizations to do this but effectively ban hobby rabbit breeders from selling to pet stores or dealers.

Rabbit “mills” are a mythical term coined by animal rights organizations opposed to breeding. They label all rabbit breeders as “mills”. Comparing rabbits to dogs, there are species differences in show breeding programs that impact number in the herd, breeding frequency, etc). Also pet demand for rabbits is quite low compared to dogs. There are an estimated 89 million pet dogs, 91 million pet cats (American Pet Products Assoc) while there are only an estimated 3.2 million pet rabbits in the US (American Veterinary Medical Assoc), down from 6.2 million in 2007 (AVMA). The average price paid to a rabbit breeder from a dealer or pet store is only $5-$10 per rabbit. When one examines credible data there is no financial incentive to breed pet rabbits large scale. Added to that USDA regulation if you gross more than $500 per year in sales to pet stores or dealers that just adds expense.

American Pet Products Associations’ National pet owners survey found only 5% of small animals were purchased from breeders while 45% were “adopted” from pet stores (shelter/rescue sourced), 11% direct from a shelter, and 26% purchased at a pet store.  Allowing only licensed rabbit breeders to sell culls to pet stores or dealers does not help hobby rabbit breeders find pet homes.



We, the undersigned, are rabbit breeders who urge our leaders to act now to remove rabbits from the above bills and allow hobby rabbit breeders the ability to sell culls to pet store or pet dealers


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