Easter Bunny? Make Mine Chocolate Happy Everything

posted: 05/15/12
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Easter Bunny? Make Mine Chocolate!
Achim Sass/Getty Images | Content: http://www.hsus.org

What belongs in an Easter basket? Mouth-watering chocolate, jellybean-filled plastic eggs, and pastel-colored candy. What doesn't? Bunnies—at least not the real kind.

That's the message behind Make Mine Chocolate!, a campaign that urges consumers to stop and think about the life-long care and attention that a rabbit requires before buying or adopting one of the hop-happy critters.

The goal of the campaign—launched in 2002 by the Columbus, Ohio, chapter of the House Rabbit Society—is to help reduce the large numbers of rabbits who are relinquished by their owners, particularly in the weeks and months following Easter.

"Animal shelters and rabbit adoption groups receive calls every day from people who want to relinquish their pet rabbit," says Karalee Curry, chapter manager of the society. "It's a year-long problem, but especially relevant during Easter. We are asking people to suppress the urge to buy a cute bunny on an impulse or as a gift for their children this Easter and instead buy chocolate bunnies."

Despite being small, cute and cuddly, rabbits are a breed apart from hamsters, guinea pigs and other small mammals kept as pets.

"People need to understand that a rabbit is not a stuffed animal or a toy—they are fragile animals who require a great deal of special care, different from other pets," says Adam Goldfarb, issues specialist in the Companion Animals section at The HSUS. "Without first doing thorough research, including talking with rabbit adoption groups or their local shelter, most people are unlikely to anticipate the amount of care and attention that rabbits require."

"Rabbits are the third most frequently relinquished pet at animal shelters," says Curry. "People who are concerned that there are too many homeless dogs and cats need to realize that rabbits are also part of the equation of too many pets and too few homes."

The idea of surprising a loved one with a chocolate bunny instead of real rabbit is obviously catching on and, while it may make your dentist unhappy, it's nothing but good news for Easter bunnies everywhere.

Rebecca Simmons is the outreach communications coordinator for the Companion Animals section of The HSUS.

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