Protect Pet Rabbits From Malnutrition, Drowning, and Abuse

Target: Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the UK House of Commons

Goal: Support inclusion of rabbits into animal welfare standards.

They have been abandoned, with broken bones and bloodstains, in parks and gardens. Many remain alone in unkempt and dirty lodging, showing signs of severe neglect. Some are purchased only to be fed to snakes. And an unfortunate but rising few are trapped in cages and thrown into ponds and lakes, where they spend the last moments of their lives gasping for air and desperate for escape. These horrifying fates often await the pet rabbit in the United Kingdom (UK). During the pandemic, searches for pet rabbits doubled. Unfortunately, so did the rate of distressed rabbits, which numbered over 4,700 in just the past year.

Rabbits need a tremendous amount of care and should only be taken in by individuals with the resources and knowledge to give them a good home. Many people have learned this lesson the hard way after making an impulse purchase because the animals looked cute and cuddly. Once these would-be pet parents realize how much upkeep a rabbit requires, too often they neglect or abandon their pets.

Despite how much these animals suffer, they still receive little to no legal protection in the United Kingdom when compared to other pet animals like dogs and cats. A proposal that has not seen much movement since it was introduced in 2021 would change this imbalance. The proposal would amend the UK’s Animal Welfare Act to afford more protections to rabbits, such as a ban on a detrimental type of food, an expansion of hutch sizes, and new guidelines on caretaking.

Sign the petition below to urge Parliament to take up this important set of safeguards.


Dear Sir Hoyle,

Over 4,700 rabbits were reported in distress last year, and less than half of these animals were successfully rehomed. On New Year’s Day, ten rabbits (including young animals) were found abandoned in Kent. And a troubling number of rabbit cages—with terrified animals still trapped inside—have been found in waterways. All of these tragedies demonstrate that the one million rabbits kept as pets in the United Kingdom are in desperate need of protections in line with the safeguards enjoyed by other animals such as cats and dogs.

The animal welfare parliamentary group has recognized this urgent need and proposed amendments to the Animal Welfare Act so that it covers rabbits. Please bring this proposal before Parliament and strengthen the requirements for purchasing and keeping these beautiful animals. Give rabbits the respect they deserve.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Mati Mango

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401 Signatures

  • Elizabeth Marino
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  • Anne Corrigan
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