Brent and I have been talking about adopting rabbits for a really long time. We are now the proud adoptive ‘parents’ of a pair of rabbits.
These two are Vlad, a Flemish Giant (the 15lb. buck) and Cassie, a Dutch mix (the 5lb grey and white doe). Rabbits bond for life, kind of like people. They don’t always bond with a member of the opposite gender or even another rabbit; they can also bond with cats or even people. These two met at the shelter where we adopted them. Vlad was found dumped at a construction site and Cassie was found hopping along the side of the road where she’d been abandoned. Vlad is likely the product of a local breeder whose purchasers hadn’t appreciated that rabbits get aggressive when they enter puberty, not unlike human teenagers. There are 2 breeders in our area and it is also possible he was dumped because he’s small for a breed that’s valued for size. Cassie was probably the unwanted progeny of feckless rabbit owners who didn’t realize that when people say “multiplying like rabbits” they’re referring to a level of fecundity allowing rabbits to become pregnant within thirty minutes of giving birth. YIKES! What I’m getting at is that abandoned animals is a problem in a society where humans think animals exist as meat or entertainment and forget that they are more like us than we [like to] think.
They’re curious, remarkably intelligent, affectionate and wary of humans. I don’t blame them given their history. We’ve mostly earned their trust, but have a ways to go. They’ve become great additions to our family and the most adorable substitutes for garbage disposals EVER! They eat just about anything we would otherwise throw away including stems from broccoli, carrot tops, ends of beets and carrots (sparingly, rabbits are easily diabetic), stems from strawberries and apple skins among other things. We also learned that they love empty unbleached boxes, toilet paper and paper towel rolls, brown paper bags and other recyclables. We’re also composting their poo, hoping for some radtacular tomatoes! Rabbits aren’t for everyone but we’re happy campers. Vegan dog and cat foods are available if that’s more your speed and in your budget. Before you talk about ‘natural diets’ for cats and dogs (cats are obligate carnivores), read the ingredients on your average dry food. You’ll discover that there’s nothing natural about the grain based diets we give dogs and cats (among other animals). These foods are merely nutritionally adequate for your pet’s needs. Also know what “chicken by-product meal” and other unsavory ingredients are usually sweepings from factory slaughterhouse floors, male chicks that aren’t useful for laying eggs and are instead thrown into garbage bins to suffocate, feathers, feces and worse. Also, if you’ve got a dog or a cat, try giving them nutritional yeast. I haven’t met a cat or dog that wasn’t crazy about the stuff.
As far as being vegan and wanting pets goes, think about adopting animals instead of buying your favorite breed. You’re likely to find you favorite breed if you contact the right organization; purebred animals like Vlad are abandoned more often than you might think. Get them fixed. Know that you’re not contributing demand and encouraging people to breed animals so that they can exploit them. If a breeder tells you they really care about their animals, ask why they’re selling them. This doesn’t have much to do with food but it has a lot to do with being vegan. Isn’t this why we stopped eating them, after all?
This is Christie, signing off.