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Ulfsdotter, Linnea, 2013. Rehoming of pet rabbits in Sweden. First cycle, G2E. Skara: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health

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Abstract

Rabbits are the third most popular companion animal in Sweden, after cats and dogs, yet not much research has been done on rabbits kept as pets in Sweden. The risk of people purchasing rabbits on impulse rather than after careful consideration is high as rabbits are easily available in pet stores and through other channels such as advertisement sites on the internet. When people purchase rabbits without adequate knowledge about the rabbits’ needs the risk of the rabbits being subjected to a compromised welfare increases. It has also been shown that many rabbits are rehomed through personal contacts rather than through animal shelters. The purpose of this study was to provide a picture of why rabbit owners choose to rehome their rabbits and to what extent rabbit owners in Sweden choose to do this. The study also aimed to give some insight into the characteristics of the rabbits that are put up for sale and what type of new home the owners request for their rabbits. Ads compiled from a large Swedish advertisement site on the internet were used to answer these questions. There were 505 rabbits for sale through 334 ads during the three months covered by this study. The three most commonly stated reasons for putting a rabbit up for sale were “Lack of time” (35.8 %), “Owners are moving” (16.6 %) and “Allergies” (13.2 %). The mean age of the rabbits being put up for sale was low, only 17.6 months and most rabbits were put up for sale for a price of between 101 SEK and 500 SEK. Comments were given about the new home in 46.8 % of the ads and a majority of the comments consisted of descriptions of the type of home or owner wanted for the rabbit. Many comments also concerned the needs of the rabbit or the amount of time that should be spent with the rabbit by the new owner. The reasons stated for relinquishing rabbits in this study are similar to those found in other studies. However, in relation to other studies the number of rabbits with behavioural problems was low in this study. This could be due to the owners being reluctant to mention problems related to their rabbits, since this may decrease the chances of the rabbits being sold. The results of this study underline the need to educate current and future rabbit owners in order for them to be able to make realistic estimates of the time and effort that is required for taking care of rabbits prior to getting them as pets and in order for them to form realistic expectations for the relationship with their pet rabbits. Hopefully this study will be used as a starting point for future research about pet rabbits in Sweden in order to get a wider understanding of the extent to which rabbits are rehomed and what can be done to ensure the welfare of rabbits kept as pets in Sweden.

Main title:Rehoming of pet rabbits in Sweden
Authors:Ulfsdotter, Linnea
Supervisor:Andersson, Maria
Examiner:Yngvesson, Jenny
Series:Studentarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Volume/Sequential designation:478
Year of Publication:2013
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK002 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme 180 HEC
Department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Keywords:rabbit, pet rabbit, rehoming, reasons, behaviour, owner, responsibility, welfare
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-2675
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-s-2675
Subjects:Animal husbandry
Animal ecology
Language:English
Deposited On:30 Aug 2013 13:06
Metadata Last Modified:30 Aug 2013 13:06

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