No Bunnies Threw Up in the Filming of This Ad…or Maybe Some Did?

Christine Saenz

I recently watched this “Sweet Million’s” commercial, one ostensibly cute enough to elicit a genuine “awww” from Dick Cheney. Bloggers from across the country have almost unanimously agreed that “widdle bunniewunnies riding in widdle teacupsis” is the cutest thing they have ever seen. In contrast, my non-comformist younger sister watched the 30 second clip and noted that “they all look so sad.” Sad, scared, or sedated? Once we push past the sickeningly sweet image of a rabbit spinning in a teacup, we are forced to confront the grim reality that bunnies do not, in fact, voluntarily race down slides, drive bumper cars, take photos, or ride in hot air balloons. The only rabbits I have ever seen at a carnival were cooped up in cages to be sold as household playthings—and, unsurprisingly, they were not wearing doll’s clothing. So this begs the larger question – what exactly are these rabbits doing in this commercial, and more importantly, who monitors their use in advertisements to ensure they are handled properly and treated humanely?

That job belongs to the American Humane Association (AHA), though it is painfully clear that they have no qualms about bunny bumper cars. While on set, the AHA works with the Screen Actors Guild to “make certain that no animals are harmed during the filming.” But their supervision starts and ends there—the AHA does not monitor the training of animals prior to filming, and is not responsible for their fate after the shoot. Perhaps they assume that the bunnies merely win a few prizes and head home after an exciting day at the fair.

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