Easter is coming up quickly. If you’ve been in a store anytime over the past month, you’ve been assaulted with a range of pastel hues and questionable marshmallow candies, and you are well aware it’s just around the corner.
While the religious aspects of the holiday invite all ages to participate, the secular holiday is generally aimed at tots. Parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles unleash a barrage of plastic grass, trinkets, and plastic eggs on very-suspecting littles.
The most popular animals associated with Easter are chicks and bunnies, probably because they’re cute and signify springtime and new life.
There are a lot of theories as to how the Easter Bunny became such a prominent figure and why rabbits became characteristic of the holiday, but whatever the actual origin, they’re certainly cute, cuddly, and prolific.
Aside from the plastic eggs and hunts, well-meaning relatives often bestow a bunny upon the children in their lives. Perhaps you were even a recipient of such a gift at some point — the tradition was and still is a common one.
For a kid who has anticipated the ownership of their first pet and has put effort into studying up on their chosen critter, this can be an appropriate and fitting gift.
That is not always the case, though. How many kids under the age of 12 do you know who have a working knowledge of pets and their requirements and would do well with a pet instantly dropped into their laps?
How many kids do you know who would be able or willing to drag their attention away from their electronic devices long enough to care for a pet, much less be interested in spending quality time with their critter?
While pet shops often get a bad rap for being animal mills, some have taken measures to prevent the demise of the 2018 batch of Easter bunnies.
While the sign is certainly attention-getting and may cause momentary frustration for prospective shoppers, it ultimately saves lives.
So many people are unaware of the care that rabbits require. They’re fairly inexpensive, which unfortunately leads people to believe they’re easy to care for, disposable, or both.
In many cases, while the kid or kids who receive a live Easter bunny will be elated for a short period of time, interest generally wanes rather quickly — and then what becomes of the poor rabbit?
Sometimes the parents grudgingly care for the rabbit and constantly guilt-trip the kids for failing to care for it. Sometimes no one cares for the rabbit and it dies.
Sometimes parents or kids decide that since (wild) rabbits live in nature, their (domesticated) rabbit should be able to, too. None of these ends are pleasant for the poor animal.
Dogs and cats may be the staples of animal shelters, but rabbits come in third place for both most surrendered and most euthanized, often as a result of misguided Easter gifts.
If you have seriously studied up on rabbit needs, your kids are responsible, and you’re willing to care for the animal yourself, then perhaps an Easter bunny wouldn’t be such a horrible idea. But it’s a sad reality that most rabbit purchases around this time of year are impulse buys that lead to animal neglect.
So, this year, feel free to get a bunny for the young ones in your family, but consider limiting your purchases to the stuffed or chocolate variety.
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