SPCA New Zealand
Animal Advocacy

Position Statements

Farmed Rabbits

SPCA supports farming systems that provide rabbits with a Good Life where they experience positive welfare and their physical, health and behavioural needs are met.

SPCA opposes farming systems that rely on close confinement, such as wire cages for rabbits.

SPCA supports farming systems which allow the rabbits a choice of environments with sufficient shelter and shade and that give rabbits access to pasture throughout the year, or whenever conditions allow. Rabbits must be kept in enriched environments that provide for their behavioural needs, such as burrowing, hiding, and gnawing. They must also have enough space to run and jump and sufficient height to raise themselves to their full height. Rabbits must have access to solid surfaces at all times, including the provision of solid mats for resting and under feeders or waterers if they are housed in wire-bottom cages. Rabbit housing must protect rabbits from animals that may cause stress and disease, such as wild rabbits or predatory animals. Rabbits should have access to a separate, sheltered, sleeping or nesting area that protects the rabbit from environmental stressors and is away from areas where they defecate.

Rabbits must never be lifted by their ears or limbs, nor be induced into a state of tonic immobility. Rabbits should be handled with their spine and legs supported and lifted securely to minimise injury.

Rabbits must receive adequate quantities of nutritious food, including free access to high quality hay, to enable each rabbit to maintain good health and welfare

SPCA supports the practice of vaccinating farmed rabbits against RHDV to ensure their health is protected against the purposeful release of this virus.

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