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Charity News

Dozens of local rescued rabbits are asking you to dig deep into your pockets as a new campaign for better rescue accommodation is launched.
 
Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care is ‘hopping’ for your support as they launch their new campaign this week, Bedrooms & Binkies.  The campaign seeks to raise enough funds to replace the aging and damaged hutches and runs throughout the rescue to make life for the rabbits a lot more pleasant.

The Glasgow based rabbit-dedicated rescue charity, with a number of foster carers operating within the local area and throughout Scotland, is urging animal lovers to get involved in a wide range of fundraising activities as they work towards replacing the equipment for over 40 foster carers throughout Scotland.

David Bell, the charity’s co-founder and rescue coordinator says, “The charity’s funds are focused on paying our vet bills every month, and so we have scraped by over the past five years by using the largest and best quality hutches we can from those that have been donated to us.  However, many commercially available hutches are simply too small and don’t meet our minimum size requirements so finding good quality large hutches and runs is incredibly difficult.”

As well as relying on donated equipment, the charity has found that many of the items offered to them are of a low quality and often need repaired or replaced after just a few months of use.

“Our volunteers always strive to offer the rabbits in the rescue the best possible experience as we prepare them for adoption.  It simply can’t be done using equipment that’s creaking at the seams and always needs patchwork repairs,” David continues, “The rabbits deserve so much better.”

Rabbits are the UK’s third most popular furry friend, but continue to be the most abandoned, neglected and misunderstood.  As a result Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care experience a very high demand for their services, which include rabbit rescue, adoption, bonding and care advice.

Since the rescue opened in December 2010, they have rescued over 800 domestic rabbits.  However, this number could have been significantly higher had the charity had more hutch space and foster carers available.  The demand for rabbit rehoming services is significantly higher than the available spaces within rescue services throughout the country.

Rhona Wilkie, Foster Care Coordinator for the charity, said: “I can’t wait to see happy hopping bunnies settling in to new hutches that are warm, safe and comfortable for them. Many of the rabbits entering the rescue have never known care like they will receive from their foster carers, and it will be great to see the standard of our equipment match that of our dedicated volunteer team.”

Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care are also looking for a number of local joiners to build the hutches and runs and deliver these to the foster carers’ homes.  The customised equipment has all been designed with the rabbits needs in mind.  Click here for our supplier's information pack if you are a supplier that would like to get involved.

The campaign, which is expected to run for a number of months, needs to raise around £16,000 to purchase high quality hutches and runs for forty of its current foster carers.

To get the campaign off the ground, the charity has launched its own JustGiving campaign page and is working on plans for various fundraising activities over the coming months including fun runs, family days and much more.

David encourages anyone with a passion for animals or rabbits to consider getting involved.

“Run a 10k for us, sell your unwanted items at a car boot sale, save your spare change in our home collection box or simply donate on our website.  Every penny helps and the rabbits will be incredibly grateful!”.  Click here to sign up for your own fundraising activity to raise funds for the Bedrooms & Binkies campaign.

Some typical examples of the standards of hutches donated to the charity below.  We often have to refuse the offers of hutches as they just would not suit the needs of the rabbits, and so the charity has to stretch our funds to purchase cheap hutches which at least meet the basic needs of our rabbits. 

It's Royal Highland Show week this week, with the event running from Thursday 23 June through until Sunday 26 June at the Royal Highland Show ground at Ingliston, Edinburgh. 

Over the past few years, Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care has hosted a stall in the lifestyle village area of the show and have met many of our followers during the event.  We have raised a great deal of cash for the charity, and helped spread the message about rabbit welfare to thousands of people each year.

However, we made the decision not to attend the show this year for various reasons.  Not only is the show a significant financial commitment that hinges on the hope of good weather and excellent attendance to reap the benefits, but there is a massive amount of planning and work involved in getting us there too.  As the stall is a busy and active one, it also takes a great deal of volunteer resource to manage it safely and effectively.  Due to various other commitments within the management and volunteer team, we therefore decided earlier in the year that it would be too much for us to commit to this year.

We were also very keen to grasp other opportunities that are being presented to us for 2016, and we are actively exploring alternative event venues and activities to attend in the hope that we will spread rabbit welfare awareness to new audiences throughout Scotland.

We know many of you liked to come to say hello during your visit to the Royal Highland Show, and so wanted to give you advance warning that we won't be there this year.

We'd like to thank the Royal Highland Agricultural Society and Show and all their visitors for their support in previous years, and wish you all the best for this year's show.

A local rabbit rescue charity is appealing for help as they try to find the owners of a rabbit that was found this weekend in the village of Quarter, South Lanarkshire.

The bunny was found on Sunday 5th June by a member of the public in a private garden in the Limekilnburn Road area of the village.  Efforts to identify an owner have been unsuccessful and so he was handed into the care of Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care.

The Kirkintilloch based rabbit-dedicated rescue charity, with a number of foster carers operating throughout Scotland, is seeking support from anyone who may be able to help them find the original owner.

“It is very common for strays to be found at this time of year, especially with such wonderful weather,” says David Bell, co-director of the charity.  “People often only let their rabbits out for exercise when the weather is good, and so it may be easier for the rabbit to escape if the garden is insecure.  He appears to be in great condition, so we are hoping that someone is missing him and looking for him”.

The volunteer team have nicknamed the rabbit ‘Lindt’ due to his chocolate coloured markings.

“We would love to get in touch with Lindt’s owners and reunite them again.”

If you have any information that may help Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care find Lindt’s owner, please call them directly on 0141 280 3272, or via their website.

Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care is going hopping mad this week with a focus on promoting their rabbits for adoption using a comical ‘dating ad’ format on their website to mark Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW).

The Kirkintilloch based rabbit-dedicated rescue charity, with a number of foster carers operating throughout Scotland, is urging animal lovers to logon to their website and check out the benefits to be had in keeping pet rabbits in pairs or small groups throughout the campaign which runs from 18 – 26 June to help raise awareness of rabbit welfare.

This year’s RAW campaign, organised by Burgess Pet Care, is focused on the importance of companionship for hutch animals, asking rabbit owners to pair up their pets with rescued rabbits from animal rescue centres. Local vets will also be offering free health checks for rabbits in RAW week. 

The charity, which has been offering rabbit welfare services throughout Scotland for over 5 years, also provides rabbit bonding services designed to help owners safely introduce their rabbits together.

“Bonding rabbits often looks violent and can be quite scary for those who aren’t aware of rabbit behaviour and social structures,” says David Bell, co-director of the charity and the rescue’s resident bonding expert.

“Once you understand the bonding rituals, and some of our tips and tricks to introducing rabbits together, it’s actually relatively straight forward.  The benefits of a bonded pair far outweigh the initial fur-flying that can happen when rabbits meet each other for the first time”.

Lhanna Frost, Adoptions Coordinator for the charity, said: “I can’t wait to see the joy on owners’ faces when they discover the satisfaction of seeing the compassion and care a rabbit can give to another rabbit when given the right conditions. It’s such an adorable side of their character.  So many single bunnies out there are just not getting the chance to be sociable.”

Suzanne Moyes, veterinary manager at Burgess Pet Care, one of the UK’s leading pet food manufacturers, said she was delighted at the number of events and activities taking place around the UK for this year’s RAW. 

“There’s a lot of myths and misinformation surrounding rabbit welfare so it’s wonderful to see so many people come out and support RAW and help put rabbits’ needs under the microscope,” she said. “The welfare of hutch animals often takes a back seat to other pets and we hope through this week’s activities we can improve and understand more about the diet, housing and behaviour of these highly intelligent, social, interactive and fun creatures. And, above all, ensure they all have a bunny buddy of their own. Let’s stop rabbits getting a raw deal!”

RAW is an annual event that brings together vets, pet retailers, welfare charities, manufacturers and owners to educate people about proper rabbit care. Official RAW partners include: Burgess Excel, Panacur Rabbit, RSPCA, PDSA, The Blue Cross, Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF) and Wood Green The Animals Charity.

Find out more at www.fairlybelovedrabbitcare.org

For some time Fairly Beloved Rabbit Care has sourced exercise runs for our foster care network from various sources, including online and local retailers and via donated equipment to the rescue.  It continues to be a challenge to source affordable equipment that also meets our minimum requirements, whilst also ensuring that our charitable funds are protected to allow us to meet our monthly vet bills and other expenses.

We had identified the 85” XXL Metal Rabbit Run distributed by Bunny Business Ltd as an attractive option, and over the past few years we have invested in the purchase of a number of these runs.  The run fell short of the exercise requirement ever so slightly, but with an excellent price of only £44.99 per run, we felt it was a wise investment for the care of rabbits that were in our temporary care.

In the Summer of 2015 we were made aware of a health & safety risk associated with these runs that many of you may be aware of.  The scenario is one whereby the rabbit is excited or spooked in the run and travels at speed towards the run panels.  Due to the speed of impact the rabbits force is then able to cause the bars to separate allowing part of the rabbits body to squeeze through the bars which subsequently retract capturing the rabbit within the bars of the run.  In many reported cases it is the rabbits head that becomes trapped and it has also been known for the rabbit to die as a result of the injury – either directly at the time of the incident, or indirectly as a result of injuries caused.

We were immediately concerned about these reports, but also had not experienced any issues directly ourselves.  Following a review we decided that we would not purchase any additional runs of this style, but were not in a financial position to replace all the runs within the fostering network given the investment already made in the equipment.  We immediately issued instruction to our foster carers that the runs should only be used under strict supervision to reduce the risk of injury, and it was our intention to slowly phase out their use completely as finances allowed us to replace the run equipment.

Over the past few months we have received a few reports from our foster carers that the runs have become increasingly dangerous.  We are unsure if this is coincidental, but we suspect that the products weaken in time making it more likely that the bars within the run can be manipulated to bend and allow the animals to pass through.  Thankfully in this handful of incidents there has always been a carer on hand to prevent injury and ensure that the rabbits are safe.  However, this week we have had an incident where we were not so lucky, and sadly a rabbit has passed away as a result of injury within these runs.

We have therefore made a decision to cease the use of these runs immediately!

We were already working on a full review of our rabbit housing and exercise equipment at FBRC, with a view to launching a campaign in the coming weeks to fundraise for the purchase of high quality, longer lasting equipment that will provide warm, safe equipment for the charity to use over a number of years to come.

Following this incident this week we have been forced in to a position where we will need to replace a fifteen of our runs in advance of this campaign.  Our funds are very limited, and this means that the runs we seek to replace them with are not the high quality custom built runs we had hoped to fundraise for.

In our search for a suitable alternative that can be supplied quickly and at a reasonable price, we were delighted that Home and Roost were happy to help.  They stock the 4ft Chartwell XL which meets our minimum exercise space requirement of 8ft x 4ft.  With next day delivery available, John of Home and Roost was delighted to offer us a special rescue discount.  We are now planning to distribute these throughout the foster care team immediately and ensure that all the rabbits in our care continue to get regular exercise in a safe, comfortable environment.

We have contacted Bunny Business Ltd for comment, as we note many other rabbit owners have done, and have had no response as yet.  It appears that they are unwilling to accept the risk their product poses to animals, and they continue to sell these runs via various online platforms.

We would strongly urge anyone who has this product to cease using it immediately!  We thoroughly recommend the larger run products available from Home and Roost as a suitable alternative, or you may wish to contact a local joiner or blacksmith for a quote on getting a custom exercise run to your own specification.

Home And Roost

We would point out that we are aware of other metal framed exercise runs that are safe to use.  The issue relating to this run is a result of a low quality, malleable metal wiring structure.  Runs made of stronger or thicker metal wiring may not pose the same risk.

If you would be willing to contribute towards the costs of our replacement runs, your support would very much be appreciated. Please donate via our JustGiving account.