When pet rabbits are abandoned, they quickly become feral, and start multiplying. And in British Columbia, that’s a death sentence.
Dr. Patricia Tallman, an environmental policy consultant, penned an open letter (which was signed by numerous non-profits and advocates, including The Fur-Bearers) to Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources Steve Thomson, asking for an opportunity to address the policy that’s marking rabbits for death.
“It’s not only the predator-kill policy that’s outdated, the inclusion of abandoned domestic rabbits under Schedule C (a list of alien and invasive species) of the Wildlife Act is also an archaic concept that is not supported by modern science,” the letter says. “This means that a permit is not required to injure, hunt, or kill abandoned domestic rabbits. Can you imagine if this were the case for abandoned domestic dogs and cats? People would be in uproar.
“For over two years since my initial correspondence with FLNR and MOA to mitigate this ongoing problem, the most crucial components to enable more effective and efficient rescue of abandoned domestic rabbits have still not been addressed.”
By removing rabbits from the controversial Schedule C list under the Wildlife Act, various solutions will be available, from creating sanctuaries for the rabbits to rehoming those who are suitable to be pets.
“Why are domestic rabbits treated as wildlife once abandoned when cats and dogs (which can create feral populations and do damage to the environment) are not,” Dr. Tallman asked in the open letter. “It would help rabbit rescue groups, animal shelters, and municipal governments if abandoned domestic rabbits are taken out of Schedule C, and for the immediate future, a rehoming policy be developed for adopting out the rescued rabbits to homes and sanctuaries.”
Please contact your MLA (find your representative) if you live in British Columbia, or contact Minister Steve Thomson if you live elsewhere, and urge them to allow non-profits to protect these animals and help find a true, long-term solution to the problem of pet abandonment.
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