Officers of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) rescued 47 Flemish giant rabbits from an allotment in Ashington, Northumberland, northeast England, where they were being kept in cramped and dirty conditions. The biggest weighed more than 8kg (17.6lb) and had 7-inch ears. It is believed they were being bred for food.

Trevor Walker, an RSPCA Inspector, said to the Independent, “These poor rabbits were living in cramped and dirty conditions, which would have been very unpleasant for them, especially in the heat. Luckily a vet found they are all in good condition. One is on medication for weepy eyes and a wound on his neck, but we hope they will find loving homes. They will make good companion animals as they have a nice temperament…Sadly, rabbits are becoming an increasing problem across the RSPCA as we are seeing more and more coming into our care, many as a result of the cost of living crisis. We really urge people to do their research before taking on a pet and to make sure you get your pet neutered to prevent unwanted litters.”

Killing animals to eat at home is not illegal in the UK but people may be prosecuted if they kill them for commercial reasons. It seems that the RSPCA will take no action against the person who neglected these rabbits, which is disappointing. It is also ironic this animal welfare organisation still promotes the idea of rabbits being kept as “pets”, while at the same time complaining of having to rescue too many. Instead, it would make much more sense to discourage people to breed rabbits for companionship or food and encourage people to rescue them from the shelters instead and give them a proper quality of life for their own sake (like many vegans have done due to the fact they are herbivores, so there is no controversy regarding which food to give them). 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.