Why are Rabbits Difficult to Source?
We know a lot of your pets love to get their paws on some rabbit. And as a parent, you may have found that rabbits are not easy to come by. When Top Quality replenishes rabbit, it is not long before it sells out. And it is not always clear when more will be coming in. We believe in full transparency and want to explain why that is, as well as inform you of another challenge rabbits are facing today.
Not every rabbit in the market is a good rabbit and it is important to know their source. If you are purchasing from a pet food manufacturer that has a continuous supply of rabbits, it is responsible to inquire about the source. Globally, the market for rabbits has increased with 63% of rabbits being sourced from China, then Korea, and Spain. PETA investigators released documentation of cruel living conditions and inhumane slaughtering practices in one of China’s rabbit farms. Therefore, 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 to be highly contagious to both 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 any contaminated materials. People can spread the virus indirectly by carrying it on their clothing and shoes.”
RHDV2 has shown to persist in the environment which makes 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 to track the spread of the disease. Suspicious cases include groups of rabbits that have dropped dead or display blood around the nose.
We hope to raise awareness on rabbit sourcing and other challenges they face in 2020. As previously stated, Top Quality Dog Food only sources domestic raised rabbits. 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 very 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.
(2020, June). Factsheet: Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/fs-rhdv2.pdf
(2019, May 16). Global rabbit meat market has increased and will continue to grow. New Food Magazine.https://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
(2019). Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV2). Colorado Department of Agriculture. https://rb.gy/fi4zwa
(2020). Rabbits Hit, Hung, and Skinned Alive in the Chinese Fur Trade. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. https://investigations.peta.org/china-rabbit-fur/