Stick, not carrot, for SPCA
The 2003 fall issue of the SPCA's
Animal Sense magazine states that the B.C. SPCA "has dramatically
invested in raising the level of animal care and furthering the
cause of animal welfare in British Columbia." Not so for the rodents
and rabbits. In fact, nothing is being done despite years of
promises. Perceived as "starter pets" for children, used as
educational tools in classrooms, kept in cages or forgotten in the
backyard, and then "dumped" because they didn't live up to
expectations, these animals are ignored and overlooked by those who
purport "to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves."
In Surrey, management reduced the
number of rabbits allotted floor space to three, and since that
announcement this year it has further reduced the numbers to three
small animals of any kind. The Animal Learning Centre, which
previously housed a number of rabbits and rodents and found homes
for them, has been undergoing "restructuring." The staff hours have
been decreased and they have been given orders to spend more time in
communities doing education. There is now little time for "hands-on"
and orders from management are not to bring any more rabbits into
There were offers from the
community and rabbit rescuers volunteering assistance but this
proved futile. In fact, the successful "Bottles for Bunnies" has
been terminated on the premises because SPCA management wanted the
funds to go into general revenue rather than continue to be applied
directly to the spaying and neutering of rabbits. It is now being
handled off the premises by those individuals who wish to see the
rabbits as direct recipients of the fundraising.
In Richmond management has said
that a maximum of six rabbits can be housed and the excess killed.
The Burnaby SPCA is considering
transferring rabbits to the overcrowded Vancouver SPCA and the
threat of euthanasia is constant. Volunteers are always scrambling
to get the rabbits into good homes before the ultimatum is given.
The surplus far exceeds the demand, and the annual Easter fallout
shows no sign of stopping.
As to sick, old, or otherwise not
easily adoptable rabbits, they stand little chance unless there is
Unregulated breeding, impulse
buying, owner surrenders and routine abandonment remain a constant
in the revolving cycle of unwanted pets.
What efforts and initiatives are
being exercised by the B.C. SPCA that would alleviate the senseless
euthanasia of healthy animals, and demonstrate to the public that
this organization is taking a proactive role in the welfare of
rabbits? To date it's been private groups and individuals pressuring
this society to raise the bar and move the animal agenda forward.