26 October 2016
People tend to buy rabbits on impulse due to their low cost, says an animal welfare group. Photo: Facebook
People tend to buy rabbits on impulse due to their low cost, says an animal welfare group. Photo: Facebook

Around 200 pet rabbits abandoned every year in HK: rescue group

Around 200 pet rabbits are abandoned in Hong Kong every year as some people tend to buy the animals on impulse, often as gifts for their kids, and later decide that they don’t want to keep them, according to an animal welfare group. 

Expressing concern at the cases of abandonment, the Hong Kong Rabbit Society (HKRS) has urged the public to think carefully before making any pet purchase decisions.

“Buying pets is not as simple as buying stuffed toys,” said Shirley Tong, the society’s chairperson.

According to her, some parents tend to buy rabbits for their kids as presents during long holidays. As the animals can be bought cheap, sometimes for as little as HK$400, people don’t think much before making the purchases.

However, the buyers later begin having second thoughts due to various reasons. Some find that they are allergic to rabbit hair, while others are put off by the animals’ habits, she told Apple Daily.  

“Rabbits are not that interactive. They see you as friends but not as owner, that’s why they seldom obey orders,” Tong said.

Established in 2003, one of the major tasks of HKRS is to take care of abandoned rabbits.

Instead of putting them down, staff and volunteers of the society try to ensure lifetime care for the animals. The society has received over 1,700 rabbits since it started operations. This year, as of mid-September, it had offered shelter to 95 rabbits.

Most of the abandoned rabbits are old and chronically ill.

HKRS has to spend HK$60,000 on medical expenses every month. It sells rabbit food such as hays and pallets, provides foster care services and collects donations to help supplement the high cost of rescue.

However, the society says it has nearly spent all its reserve money and that it hopes people will make more donations to help the organization continue its work.

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