Over the years, rabbits have been reared and killed for the purpose of consumption. In recent years, the number of rabbits being killed has sharply increased due to the growing demand, not only in food, but also as a source of fur. It is now one of the fastest growing sectors in the fur trade and yet the world is largely unaware of it. According to the reports, about 50 million animals are killed throughout the world solely for their fur. However, what is alarming is that rabbits are not counted amongst these numbers and although the precise numbers are yet to be determined, it is safe to say that the rabbits are being killed in millions.
Rabbits are small herbivorous mammals that are found in various parts of the world.
They are mostly found in North America, but a large number of hares and rabbits are also distributed in Europe, Eurasia, Southeast Asia, and in some parts of Africa. Rabbits live in groups and build their homes underground, which are called burrows. They are rapid breeders, and a single female rabbit is capable of producing 800 children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren every year.
There are several rabbit factory farms around the world.
Their only objective is to breed rabbits in large numbers for commercial purposes. The conditions in which the rabbits are reared are horrendous and can be described, at the least, as inhumane. Thus, they have come under the scrutiny of both governments and animal rights activists. Several Bans have been imposed by governments to ensure that the rabbits, if reared at all for such purposes, are bred in healthy and hygienic environment, and are stunned before they are killed.
Why are the rabbits being killed?
Rabbits and hares are small tender creatures that are killed for two main purposes:
Meat: Rabbit meat is commonly consumed in several parts of the world, with high demand in Europe, North America, and South America. Rabbit meat is reportedly being sold in vast quantities in United Kingdom and Australia, which is higher than any other country. This demand for rabbits as a food source has led to the rise in rabbit farming. More and more rabbits are being raised for this purpose. Because it is a blank palette, many chefs encourage the use of rabbits in the same scale as chicken. Rabbit meat, however, is unpopular in Asia Pacific, hence the limited slaughtering in those areas.
Fur: When we talk about the fur trade, we tend to emphasize foxes, bears, minks, seals and the like, but the harsh reality is that a small animal like a rabbit is not an exception. Rabbits have soft coats of fur which are quite often used for clothing and other products. They can be used as a material for hats, scarves, gloves, boots, and more. Angora rabbits are mainly reared for this purpose and are sheared like sheep for their fur.
How the rabbits have to survive
The condition in which the rabbits are kept is disgraceful and shocking.
The rabbit factory farms around the world have similar conditions. They are dirty and unhygienic. These gentle creatures are made to live in tiny cages that are always overcrowded. They have the least possible space to move around and at times, cannot even stretch their limbs. The cages are infested with diseases, and the rabbits are easily infected. They are not even provided with the basic medical treatment and are forced to suffer through their illnesses. This is the common practice, not only during poor health, but year-round. There are no vets to give them the necessary shots, and the rabbit farmers are unconcerned about the overall health of the creatures.
It is not only the living conditions of the rabbits that are alarming. The breeding process in rabbit factories is far from natural, as the female rabbits are caged separately and then impregnated artificially. The female rabbits are kept in a separate breeding shed in tiny cages that are barely big enough to accommodate them, let alone carry the unborn babies to term. The rabbits are denied their natural mating process and are forced to procreate artificially. The young rabbits that are born are removed from the mother within 5 to 12 weeks and are relocated to the slaughterhouse.
The baby rabbits are raised specifically for the purpose of consumption. They are kept in horrid conditions where they are so cramped that they cannot even grow properly. The rabbits inflict harm on each other in their struggle to survive, and quite often the injuries are worse than one can imagine.
Diseases and infection are extremely common, and the mortality rates of the baby rabbits are alarmingly high. The killing process of the rabbits is merciless as the rabbits are not even stunned before being killed. As a result, more often than not, the rabbits are completely aware of what is going on and experience the full impact of terror and pain.