In The Beginning … In America…
Rabbits are a familiar symbol of the Easter holiday. In the days leading up to it, they appear on television commercials and packages of candy, and stores are filled with stuffed rabbits. It is no surprise that children beg their parents for a bunny of their own. Ill-prepared to care for these unique creatures, their “owners” often quickly tire of them. In the months following Easter, local humane societies and rabbit rescues are flooded with rabbits, former Easter gifts whose “owners” no longer want them. The unlucky ones are dumped outside where predators, cars, illness, and injury virtually guarantee an early death.
In 2002, in an attempt to address the problem, the Columbus House Rabbit Society began a campaign to educate the public on the realities of living with a rabbit, and to discourage giving live rabbits as Easter gifts. Using ceramic pins in the form of chocolate bunnies as the symbol, the campaign’s goal is to spread the message that rabbits should not be casually acquired and to educate the public about the special needs of these often-fragile creatures. The pins serve as conversation starters. Comments about the pin provide the wearer the opportunity to share our message with the general public. These informal conversations are supported by a card that is distributed with each pin, and by business cards that can be handed out to interested parties. Both the pin card and the business card list important facts that should be considered before bringing a rabbit into the home. Our goal is to educate the public of the challenges of properly caring for rabbits and to encourage them to purchase chocolate Easter bunnies (or stuffed toy animals) rather than live rabbits.
Content courtesy of Make Mine Chocolate! (US)
Make Mine Chocolate!” is a trademark of the Columbus House Rabbit Society.
In 2008 … In Great Britain…
The Make Mine Chocolate campaign was brought into the UK to address the same issues as those in the US.
However, due to the wide rabbit welfare issues in Great Britain, the scope of Make Mine Chocolate! UK has been widened:
The Make Mine Chocolate! UK organisation is about changing the way we perceive and care for domestic rabbits.
This independent organisation is working hard to raise awareness of rabbit welfare needs – especially in relation to the problem of impulse buying because of the ‘cute fluffy’ factor of rabbits.
It is well documented that the issue of impulse buying can lead to a significant number of rabbits surrendered to rescue – or worse, neglected or dumped to face an almost certain death. Around 60% of rabbits entering rescue in the UK have been owned for less than a year – with a staggering 40% of these being owned for less than six months!
It is time to make a significant improvement of rabbit welfare in the UK and Make Mine Chocolate! UK is dedicated to this objective. With ground-breaking projects such as the Easter Amnesty, Make Mine Chocolate! UK is working hard to spread the message that Rabbits are a life-long commitment; those not ready could buy a chocolate one instead.
In addition, extensive support material for those with rabbits, or those considering obtaining rabbits is designed to improve rabbit welfare and the understanding of their needs, and finally break the cycle of a lack of education in rabbit care.