Saturday, September 25, 2010

Happy International Rabbit Day!

No, this is not a new holiday cooked up by Hallmark to sell more cards. Frankly I wish Hallmark WOULD recognize it and issue forth more cards with rabbits on them. In fact, International Rabbit Day was initially acknowledged by a British animal rights group which apparently no longer exists. Some sources claim the day is the 25th; others the 26th September. My understanding is, IRD is the fourth Sunday of September. Given all that rabbits mean to me, I say give them the whole damn weekend!

Only those of us who have shared our lives with rabbits can truly appreciate the love and joy and wonder that they bring to the world. We try to share our experiences with those who haven't had this priviledge in the hope of bringing understanding of these beautiful creatures to a world which still callously kills rabbits for meat, slaughters them for their fur, and tests every thing under the sun on their eyes and bodies. People do all of that even as they raise their children to believe in the Easter Bunny, eat Trix cereal, and give bunnies to their kids for pets. Talk about mixed messages. And don't even get me started about the despicable values promoted by 4-H clubs.

Rabbits deserve to be cherished, not exploited. They are warm, intelligent, social animals who, despite being prey animals, will, in time, learn to trust and love humans. I still marvel at that, especially when I come across rabbits who have come from either a home of neglect or abuse. Rabbits forgive us! They will let us back into their lives again, let us touch them and embrace them. Would we be so trusting of human beings if we were treated badly? Some cynically may claim that behavior points to stupidity, that rabbits can't learn from past experiences; those of us who know better, say it points to compassion. As a species we can learn alot from rabbits if we could for just some time stop looking at the world with our arrogant human eyes and start looking at it from those of creatures other than ourselves.

Rabbits love us and ask for nothing in return. But let us give them something back. Let's do all we can to make this world a better place for them. Educate people, encourage adoption, discourage the reckless breeding of rabbit mills; volunteer at a local rabbit rescue or advocacy group. Foster a rabbit to see if he/she is the right companion for you. All these steps make a difference. Every rabbit saved counts!

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