Petition to Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, Jaala Pulford
CHI'S LEGACY: Include the protection of pet rabbits in Animal Welfare Laws in Australia
Pet Rabbits in Australia are not covered under animal law and rabbits are also considered feral pests, so why does the Australian Government allow uncontrolled breeding of pet rabbits that adds to the feral rabbit population through rabbits being dumped in the Australian landscape? The feral rabbit population started with 25 rabbits brought into Australia at settlement. There are colonies of domestic rabbits living in communities in cities all over Australia, the result of dumped pets. Pet rabbits are not covered under Australia Animal Welfare Law, leaving welfare agencies at a disadvantage to deal with animal abuse and neglect. The lack of laws also means that persons and pounds are not held accountable for abuse, neglect and killing of pet rabbits. In Queensland pet rabbits are banned under an archaic law even if they are desexed and micro chipped. The Australian Government releases the myxomatosis virus but does not allow pet owners to vaccinate their pet rabbits against this deadly virus. If it were a cat or dog, the community would be outraged. Local pet stores that sell rabbits offer little to no education on rabbit care and sell them to anyone who is willing to pay. Owners are lead to believe that rabbits are cheap and easy pets for children and when they reach puberty or become ill, the majority of owners will not spend money on vet care and discover that the rabbit will bite or run away and they are then surrendered or dumped or taken to the vet to be killed. Most rabbits are discarded before they reach 12 months old. Pet shops miss-sex baby rabbits and the result is unwanted litters across Australia to families who do not have the funds to desexed the animals and can lead to hoarding situations, giving away to more unsuspecting owners or dumping of excess rabbits. Rabbits are on-demand ovulators and can get pregnant the day they give birth to 6 to 20 rabbits each month and this continues until the mother rabbit dies and the babies are surrendered to rescues, dumped or killed. Pet owners are given no information or incorrect information on rabbit care at point of sale to unsuspecting owners who then discard the animal at puberty or when the child loses interest. Many rabbits end up dumped, neglected, abused, dead, or surrendered to council pounds, which due to the numbers are killed in high numbers. A case from New York... First it was smoking. Then it was jaywalking. Then big sugary drinks. Now New York City wants a bunny ban — specifically, a ban on selling baby rabbits in pet stores. The reason is pretty obvious: rabbits have a very big sexual appetite and they multiply pretty quickly. A bill currently before the City Council would make it illegal for pet shops to "display, offer for sale, deliver, barter, auction, give away, transfer or sell" rabbits. Rabbit Run- away Orphanage works tirelessly keeping the shelter no-kill for these pet rabbits and it is a difficult situation to say the least with hundreds of rabbits coming into the shelter each year now. We are sick of seeing the dumping, killing and neglect of this pet. As rabbits are breed as pets, they MUST be regulated as with other exotics and cats and dogs. Chi's Legacy asks the Australian Government to develop laws that will protect domestic pet rabbits from abuse, neglect and dumping in the Australian landscape or in pounds across the country, where laws do not protect them and they are euthanaised in unexceptable numbers.. We ask the Australian Government to develop animal welfare laws to protect pet rabbits and to stop the abuse, neglect dumping or killing of our pet rabbits and the contributing that this causes to the feral rabbit population problem. As an exotic pet, they require regulations to restrict uncontrolled breeding and regulations to control ownership as with other exotic pets. Chi: Chi was our first stray rabbit who wandered into our lives and taught us about this unique and special species and is the reason Rabbit Run-Away Orphanage exists today.