It’s that time of year again! With Easter fast approaching, we’re reminding gift-givers that live rabbits are not toys and to stick to stocking their Easter baskets with sugar or plush bunnies this year. The purchasing of rabbits for children each Easter is a fad that is unfortunately still continuing and one that really needs to stop.  Once the Easter hype is over and parents realize what they really have gotten themselves into, they usually dump their new “family members” off at a local shelter or worse. 

A fact that sometimes gets lost during the Easter holidays is that almost 80 percent of bunnies that are up for adoption at shelters were once purchased as Easter gifts, as The Huffington Post reports.  When someone gives up a gifted pet, any pet,  they are contributing to animal shelter overcrowding and many times, when shelters cannot adopt out all those animals, like rabbits, into loving homes or a rescue facility, they are euthanized. 

Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, recently toured a New York City shelter, lamented the sad end of most pet rabbits. “Doomed, adult abandoned rabbits had their own wing,” she said. “People tossed them out of apartments when they chewed electrical wires, bit them, or after they were evicted. Bunnies grow into rabbits quickly, and their appeal as pets is short-lived.”

This Easter, we’re asking anyone considering giving an animal as a gift, to please reconsider! Live animals should never be given as gifts, as they are a huge responsibility and require lifetime care. Check out these ideas from OneGreenPlanet below for some alternative, ethical and fun Easter activities: 

  • From GonePie Vegan Bakery  buy a handcrafted, vegan, organic, and fair trade rescue chocolate bunny instead of a real Easter bunny this year!
  • Go and visit an animal sanctuary as a special Easter trip with your family.
  • Take a trip to your local animal shelter and ask a volunteer for a tour. Pick the shelter for knowledge about rabbits while you visit and hold one!
  • Read your child a book about or featuring bunnies, chicks, and other Easter-like animals.
  • Make Easter animal crafts from recycled and re-purposed household items.

Follow Friends of Animals’s board Have a Vegan Holiday on Pinterest.