Easter Rabbit:
Chocolate, or Furry?

Easter Rabbit: Should you get yourself a delightful new pet Easter bunny, or is it better to resign yourself to the chocolate variety?

Do 95% of Easter bunnies really end up abandoned at shelters? The true answers might shock you.

Easter is just around the corner. According to Ms. Corinne Fayo, founder and owner of the Rabbit Education Society, it is also the time of year that people LIE about rabbits (her words and emphasis).

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This year you’re bound eventually to see at least one news story about a single unwanted rabbit that got dropped off at a shelter.

This single story will hit the news with dire warnings about getting your kid a bunny for Easter. “95% will end up abandoned in shelters,” they assert.

Make yours chocolate,” will be the punchline.  

Yes, some Easter rabbits will end up in a shelter. But instead of the absurdly huge percentages cited by animal rights organizations (and quoted in the news), analysis of the available numbers shows that the figure is much closer to under 2% of rabbits in the USA. This includes all rabbits surrendered over a year’s time.

Reese's makes a deelish chocolate peanut butter Easter rabbit candy!

Yet stories about abandoned Easter bunnies continue to quote 80%, 90% or 95% as representing the percentage of bunnies that will be abandoned just as soon as they outgrow the cute ‘bunny’ stage.

That would be an astronomical number of rabbits!

Just consider the numbers for a moment:

  • There are 316,128,839 million people in the USA as of 2013
  • 23.5% of these are under 18 years of age, therefore, 74,290,277 kids in the USA
  • If just one out of 10 of them begs for, or receives a rabbit for Easter, then 7.4 million Easter bunnies will enter homes in the USA during springtime just before Easter
  • Want me to drop the estimate to one out of 25 kids? Okay, one out of 25. We’ll drop our estimate to 2.97 million bunnies acquired at Eastertime
  • If a bunny is sold at age 8 weeks in mid-April, then it will be an adult at age 6 months in August
  • If 95% of these bunnies get dumped on shelters by August, we would expect to find a sudden influx of roughly 2,823,031 rabbits flooding into shelters by mid-August.

If 2.8 million Easter rabbits flooded animal shelters every single August, you can bet your cockadoodle donut that every August, animal rights organizations would contact every media outlet and file press releases lambasting all the evil rabbit breeders for selling their bunnies to irresponsible individuals who will abandon them.

But, there is no influx of 2.823 million rabbits every year in August.

Rabbits DO end up in shelters, of course. Sick rabbits. Pregnant ones whose moodiness was mistaken for meanness. Truly mean rabbits that have no business being pets. Rabbits with front teeth like samurai swords. Plus those rabbits caught in their owner’s life situation changes, say, their owner is moving and can’t keep the bunny.

No doubt a few bunnies purchased this Easter season will eventually end up in some shelter somewhere. This is a far cry from the oft-quoted and completely unsubstantiated 95%.

So, where the heck do these Easter rabbit percentages come from??

Ms. Fayo has spent the last 15 years attempting to answer this and other questions. After multiple phone calls and getting shuffled up the chain of command of multiple animal rights organizations and long hours on the phone and internet, here are some of the details she has discovered:

  • More than 7 million rabbits are euthanized every year due to overpopulation.” This whopper, announced from the Bunny Help, Stantonsburg NC, website, in 1999, might be the beginning of the major over-exaggerations by animal rights organizations who strive to eliminate all pets. Since the total rabbit population in the USA at the time was 4 million rabbits, and the estimate of total euthanizations of dogs, cats, rabbits, and all other animals in the prior year was just 6 million, you KNOW someone is lying. (This statement eventually disappeared from that website.)

    (Estimated total euthanization numbers for dogs and cats in 2008 was 2-3 million, rabbits far, far, FAR fewer.)

  • “We are trying to put the breeders out of business (because rabbit breeders are rabbits’ biggest threat)” (2000) Ah, that makes a lot of sense (not!).

    Absurd logic aside, now we know the WHY behind the lies. If everyone believes that shelters are crammed to the ceilings with rabbits and that billions are indiscriminately killed, then it will be easier to convince lawmakers to make the breeders stop breeding.

    PETA, on the other hand, has no qualms killing indiscriminately.

  • 80%: Actual quantification via percentages (fabricated, of course) was a somewhat later development. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been telling people for years that 80% of rabbits sold as pets die. In a phone conversation with the HSUS, according to Ms. Fayo, the HSUS stated that the figure is NOT theirs; it was a figure quoted from the House Rabbit Society (HRS).

    Really? The HRS also refuses to take ownership of the 80% (or the 90%) statistic. “We don’t say this,” they declare. And because neither they nor any shelter personnel keep records regarding shelter rabbits, they have no idea what the actual truth is. “We just generalize by saying ‘most’ rabbits sold as pets die.”

    Yet virtually every prominent animal rights organization credits the HRS with this percentage – ASPCA, PAWS, HSUS, PETA. The San Francisco SPCA admits, “Actually we have no information on rabbit overpopulation.”

    Soooo....that 80% number is a complete fabrication. HRS's “most” is also a fabrication, as the HRS truly has no idea.

    The actual truth, according to legitimate research, is much closer to a 1.9% rabbit abandonment rate, regardless of the Easter season (The Rabbit Overpopulation Myth (PDF)).

  • 90%: This is another spurious and highly inflated statistic that is quoted by animal rights organizations to the news media. The sources for the 90% figure are identical to the sources for the 80% number. Completely fabricated.

  • 95%: It just keeps getting better and better. Over the last several years, 95% has been the in-vogue percentage to describe the death or abandonment rate of Easter bunnies sold as pets. Yep – pulled straight out of places where the sun doesn’t shine for the express purpose of deception.

squirrel, chinchilla, and broken chin rabbits

Are you really excited about acquiring an Easter rabbit?

Feel free to ignore the propaganda!

Do your homework for sure, so you can obtain a rabbit that will please you and your family for years.

M&M's milk chocolate Easter rabbit

Go ahead, check the rabbit shelters. You may find a few rabbits in your area, but don’t take any that are sick, have crooked teeth, snotty noses, rough fur, or are mean. These rabbits land in the shelters for a reason – they were not suitable for their prior family, and the likelihood exists that they are not suitable for any other family as well.

Check our Rabbits for Sale page for many tips on locating an excellent rabbit breeder or other reputable source for rabbits.

And then celebrate with the
chocolate variety of Easter rabbit!

Go from Easter Rabbit to Easter Bunny History

> > Easter Rabbit - The Overpopulation Lies

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