In 2011, 4-H launched a new campaign, Join the Revolution of Responsibility, and Redwood Rabbits answered the call.
Redwood Rabbits has been working in the Bay Area to bridge the gap between the way the public, rescue organizations, rabbit shows, and 4-H itself has viewed rabbits for years. All care deeply for the versatile rabbit, which can serve as backyard bun, beloved house pet, champion show animal, and superior food producer. The primary problem arises when one group attempts to trump all others. Rabbits can and do fill many roles.
Bridging the gap between all those involved with rabbits means respecting each group’s wishes and working together to maintain the best quality of life possible for the humans and animals involved. We cannot afford to be extreme when we must all coexist.
Redwood Rabbits recognizes that truly being committed to animal welfare in the Bay Area involves not only breeding, raising, and showing with responsibility and excellence, but also giving back to the community at large by promoting responsible animal stewardship by educating the public at large and doing what we can to prevent/care for the large number of homeless rabbits in the Bay Area.
The House Rabbit Society website reports, “Since our 1988 founding, House Rabbit Society volunteers have fostered over 8,100 homeless rabbits.” Even if this figure is estimated, there is no denying the fact that many rabbits do in fact end up homeless, that more can be done to prevent this, and that 4-H can play a key role.
Rabbits are the third most euthanized animal in the U.S., yet many shelters do not accept abandoned rabbits, and there is a dearth of knowledge about domestic rabbits, rabbit care, and population control.
The kids of Redwood Rabbits are well aware of the importance of working in the community to combat these facts, and to date, they have volunteered to help adoptable rabbits find homes by participating in open adoption events and promoting rescue at each of their public venues with posters, flyers, and even live rabbits from Bananas for Bunnies at this fall’s Apple Festival petting zoo in Garin Park.
Through a grant from the 4-H Revolution of Responsibility and partnered with Bananas for Bunnies Rabbit Rescue, this year in 2012, Redwood Rabbits plans to expand its role in the community through launching a grass-roots educational campaign in local schools, pet stores, and the community at large. This program will introduce children (and adults) to domestic rabbits, different breeds, their personalities and needs, and the huge overpopulation problems. The program will discuss the need for both controlled breeding and neuter, and it will stress the commitment required when one brings a fellow creature into one’s home: that animals are not merely cute toys, they are not disposable, and that they require daily care and love for their whole lives.
So look for Redwood Rabbits in 2012 in a school, a pet store, or on a billboard near you, and spread the word: rabbits, like any other pet, deserve a knowledgeable human, because a true lasting relationship cannot stand on cuteness alone.