RSPCA rescues 47 giant rabbits crammed into ‘cramped and dirty’ hutches

Rescuers have saved dozens of giant rabbits which had been bred to be eaten and crammed into filthy hutches.

RSPCA officers plucked the 47 animals from an allotment in Northumberland, where they were being kept in “cramped and dirty” conditions.

The Flemish giant rabbits had been locked up and left to breed.

The largest weighed more than 8kg (17.6lb), the same as a medium-sized dog such as a Jack Russell terrier or King Charles spaniel, and had 7-inch ears.

The RSPCA believes they were destined for dinner plates.

Although often kept as pets, Flemish giant rabbits are still bred by some for their fur and meat.

Two of the adults were of average size but their litters were crossed with some of the giant breeds, so the babies are likely to grow into larger than usual rabbits, the animal charity said.

Inspector Trevor Walker, who helped with the rescue over several days in Ashington, said: “These poor rabbits were living in cramped and dirty conditions, which would have been very unpleasant for them, especially in the heat.

“Luckily a vet found they are all in good condition. One is on medication for weepy eyes and a wound on his neck, but we hope they will find loving homes.

“They will make good companion animals as they have a nice temperament.”

Some of the rabbits were as large as dogs


The RSPCA said no action had been taken against the owner, and most of the rabbits had been taken to its centres or branches, while others were being looked after by inspectors.

Killing animals to eat at home is not illegal but government guidelines warn people may be prosecuted unless they kill the animals for them or their immediate family who live at the property to eat.

Many centres are already full of unwanted rabbits, it said, even before the summer surge of calls over animals to be rehomed.

“Sadly, rabbits are becoming an increasing problem across the RSPCA as we are seeing more and more coming into our care, many as a result of the cost of living crisis,” Mr Walker added.

“We really urge people to do their research before taking on a pet and to make sure you get your pet neutered to prevent unwanted litters.”

Last year, The Independent revealed how a T&S rabbit breeding farm had left animals sick from neglect.

The firm sells rabbit meat and fur products and is believed to send carcases to a maggot farm for fishing bait.

The Shut Down T&S Rabbits campaign organisation lobbies against the firm’s expansion plans.


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