Why Are Rabbits Difficult To Source?
We know a lot of your pets love to get their paws on rabbits, and as a parent, you may have found that they are not easy to come by. When Top Quality replenishes our Whole Ground Rabbit products, they sell out quickly, and it is not always clear when we will be making more. We believe in full transparency and want to explain why that is and inform you of another challenge rabbits face today.
If you are purchasing from a pet food manufacturer with a continuous supply of rabbits, it is responsible to inquire about the source. Globally, the rabbit market has increased, with 63% of rabbits being sourced from China, Korea, and Spain. PETA investigators documented cruel living conditions and inhumane slaughtering practices in one of China’s rabbit farms. With this in mind, we purchase domestic-raised rabbits only — that are humanely slaughtered without the use of CO2. If you are purchasing from a company that does not disclose information on their rabbit sourcing, we encourage you to reach out and ask. As a consumer, you can fight against inhumane practices by supporting reputable and humane farms and processors.
Despite the difficulty of sourcing domestic-raised rabbits, an emerging disease threatens rabbit populations across the United States. The virus is called Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease or RHDV2 and has proven highly contagious to wild and domestic rabbits. I want to preface this by saying RHDV2 is NOT transmittable to dogs or cats. The U.S. Department of Agriculture states:
“It can be spread through direct contact or exposure to an infected rabbit’s excretions or blood. The virus can also survive and spread from carcasses, food, water, and contaminated materials. People can spread the virus indirectly by carrying it on their clothing and shoes.”
RHDV2 has shown to persist in the environment, making it difficult to control. We can all do our part to help stop or slow down the spread of the disease. Biosecurity practices can be adopted, such as thoroughly washing hands and changing into different shoes and clothes indoors or when you are around your rabbits. Reporting cases to your local state wildlife officials helps track the disease’s spread. Suspicious cases include groups of rabbits that have dropped dead or display blood around the nose.
We hope to raise awareness of rabbit sourcing and other challenges they face in 2020. When you support us, you support humane practices! We hope you will stay informed on the topic, support research and vaccines, and, if nothing else, spread awareness. You can stay updated on the topic by joining the RHDV information page on Facebook.
Thank you to George Long for inspiring this blog and sharing information on this important topic.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended for educational purposes only. You are responsible for your pet(s) health and safety. We encourage you to research topics further and to consult with your Veterinarian or Pet Nutritionist before modifying your pet(s) diet.
“Factsheet: Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease.” Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – USDA APHIS, June 2020, www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/fs-rhdv2.pdf.
“Global Rabbit Meat Market Has Increased and Will Continue to Grow.” New Food Magazine, 16 May 2019, www.newfoodmagazine.com/news/85045/global-rabbit-meat-market-grow/.
Quick Facts About Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease. California Department of Fish and Wildlife. https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=179037&inline
“Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV2).” Department of Agriculture, https://rb.gy/fi4zwa.
“Rabbits Hit, Hung Up, and Skinned Alive in the Chinese Fur Trade.” PETA Exposés and Undercover Investigations, 24 Aug. 2017, investigations.peta.org/china-rabbit-fur/.