Target: European Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan
Goal: Ban factory farming of rabbits raised for meat across Europe.
Over 330 million rabbits are raised for meat each year in Europe, with 99 percent of them packed into barren cages their entire lives. Rabbits reared for meat in the European Union (EU) are caged in groups with 450 to 600 square centimeters of space each. This is smaller than a sheet of A4 paper. Confined this way, rabbits are unable to display normal behaviors, such as stretching or standing erect, let alone running, hopping and playing.
Rabbits are the fourth most farmed animals in the world, and the majority of them spend their short lives — they are slaughtered after 80-90 days — suffering in cages. Led by Compassion in World Farming, an investigation into 16 intensive rabbit farming facilities across Europe revealed horrible conditions. Shocking images show animals with their ears chewed off, their bodies and faces covered in bleeding sores, and their paws severely wounded by the sharp wire floors of their cages. Many suffered from eye, skin, or ear infections as well as severe respiratory ailments. Often they were forced to walk over the decomposing bodies of their dead cage-mates, who have succumbed to injuries or disease. One particular investigator found 16 fully-grown white rabbits packed tightly into a cage measuring just one square meter.
Breeding females are starved and forced to reproduce faster than they can recover. On average, they are inseminated a mere 11 days after giving birth. Rabbits are so susceptible to disease in these intensive rearing conditions in factory farms in France that they are reportedly administered over seven times more antibiotics than poultry.
The awful conditions rabbits reared for meat suffer through are not sufficiently publicized and thus virtually unknown by the general public. However, this doesn’t make it acceptable to allow this horrific treatment to carry on unabated. The European Union is often a pacesetter when it comes to higher standards of animal welfare. If action is taken on this important issue, other countries may follow suit. Sign this petition and urge the EU to ban the factory farming of rabbits.
Dear Commissioner Hogan,
Rabbits are the fourth most farmed animals in the world and most of them spend their entire lives suffering in cramped cages. In Europe alone, 99 percent of the 330 million rabbits killed for meat are reared in intensive farms. They are caged in groups — sometimes 16 rabbits per meter squared — with barely 450 to 600 square centimeters of space each. This is smaller than a sheet of A4 paper. Confined this way, rabbits are unable to even stretch.
A Compassion in World Farming investigation into 16 intensive rabbit farming facilities in the EU revealed horrific conditions. Animals were found with sores on their faces and bodies, some had their ears partially chewed off, and others had bloody wounds on their paws because of the wire flooring. Infections and severe respiratory ailments ran rampant, and investigators reported dead rabbits decomposing in cages. Rabbits’ increased susceptibility to disease in this crowded environment has led to farms in France using seven times more antibiotics than used in poultry farming.
The European Union has a reputation of setting high standards of animal welfare. However, these rabbits are being denied even the most basic level of care. Please put an end to this rampant cruelty and take steps to ban the intensive farming of rabbits in the EU.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Compassion in World Farming