Rabbits are the third most euthanized animal in the U.S., yet many shelters do not accept abandoned rabbits. There is a dearth of knowledge about domestic rabbits, rabbit care, and population control. Many people see rabbits as cute little toys and adopt them without understanding their true nature, their needs, their lifespan and their amazing ability to procreate.
How has 4-H helped?
Education! The people most attracted to bunnies are young children, so we went into classrooms to educate kids in our community. We presented domestic rabbits, different breeds, their personalities and needs, and discussed the huge overpopulation problem. We highlighted the need for both controlled breeding and neuter, and stressed the commitment required when one brings a fellow creature into one's home. Each classroom presentation culminated in making bunny bags stuffed with hay and other treats which were then donated to local shelters and Bananas for Bunnies. We were able to donate several hundred bags in all. We also made a professional-grade movie that we posted on YouTube, Facebook, and local rabbit rescue sites. We were also able to negotiate a special community service rate and have it run twice between each showing of a film on the big screen over the summer at the Chabot Theater in Castro Valley, CA.
Whereas some rescue groups may have thought 4-H was contributing to the overpopulation problem by breeding/showing, we have proved that we are not the problem; we are part of the solution.
-Members, Redwood 4-H Club
Some of our more soft-spoken members have raised their voices in their classrooms and on the big screen, lending their passion to a cause within the community. They have seen that their opinions count. Classroom feedback included multiple discussions dispelling rabbit myths (I didn’t think rabbits could breed until they were over a year old!). We thereby have our community talking and have raised awareness for rabbits. Another payoff of our project is that we have bridged a gap between rescue groups and breeding/showing groups. Whereas some rescue groups may have thought 4-H was contributing to the overpopulation problem by breeding/showing, we have proved that we are not the problem; we are part of the solution.