Big rabbits ‘bred for meat’ on the lookout for new properties after Northumberland rescue | Animals

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Dozens of big rabbits – one in all which weighs as a lot as a jack russell terrier – are on the lookout for new properties after being “bred for his or her meat” on an allotment.

The RSPCA rescued 42 Flemish big rabbits in Ashington, Northumberland, which have been discovered dwelling in “dreadful circumstances in cramped hutches, the place that they had been left to breed with one another”.

The rabbits are being cared for in a number of shelters within the north-east of England. Some have been taken dwelling by workers due to a scarcity of shelter area.

Of all of the rabbits rescued, the most important weighed greater than 8kg (17.6lb) and had ears seven inches lengthy.

Every rabbit had its personal character, the charity stated. For instance, Cookie Crisp, weighing in at 4kg, is a “large boy” who loves exploring and taking part in.

John Billany, the rehoming coordinator at RSPCA Northumberland West, stated lots of the rabbits have been nonetheless younger, and will get larger as they acquired older.

He stated: “It’s troublesome to inform as a result of all these rabbits have been combined and matched with totally different rabbits, so that you’re by no means fairly positive what they’re going to end up like. The place they’ve come from, I feel they’ve clearly been bred for measurement, fairly than high quality. They’ve simply been making an attempt to get them as large as they’ll.

“They’re an enormous breed, as their identify suggests, so they’re in all probability suited to the extra skilled rabbit proprietor who has had giants earlier than. They’re good rabbits, however they’re simply large, and potential homeowners must know what they’re doing and methods to meet their wants.”

Laura cradles Goofy
Kennel employee Laura Davies with Goofy the Flemish cross rabbit. {Photograph}: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

Jan Ormiston, an RSPCA trustee and volunteer, stated the charity had greater than twice the variety of rabbits in shelters than earlier than the pandemic. On the Northumberland West shelter, there would usually be a couple of dozen rabbits, she stated, however there have been now about 30.

Ormiston stated: “We’ve got a rabbit disaster on the minute. We simply have so many rabbits which have come into our care. It’s unbelievable.”

She stated this might occur when folks purchased a pair of rabbits from a excessive road pet store mistakenly pondering they have been each the identical intercourse, which may result in homeowners quickly having extra pets than they bargained for.

As well as, many homeowners have given up their rabbits after realising they require as a lot care as a cat – and vet’s payments are simply as costly.

Ormiston stated: “I feel it’s as a result of throughout lockdown, lots of people thought that rabbits have been an excellent starter pet and that they have been low upkeep. They usually’re not.”

The RSPCA stated the rabbits would all be neutered earlier than transferring to their new properties.

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