“Rabbit, rabbit” or “Night of the Lepus”–it’s your choice

10426311_10153130585852392_2191799719262181905_n-1Kathleen Stachowski    Other Nations

Soon it will be April 1st, and for those of you with superstitious or folklorish proclivities, remember to say “rabbit, rabbit!” (or “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit!”) first thing upon waking–before speaking any other words. You might even go so far as to perambulate through the house saying it in each room. This ritual is to be repeated as every new month dawns. I just recently learned of this age-old practice from my friend Tracy, who rescues rabbits and runs an education campaign endearingly called Rabbitron (websiteFacebook), named after her first bunny and serving as a tribute to that worthy lagomorph.   Continue reading

Rabbit ranching: Pat the bunny, whack the bunny

Kathleen Stachowski  Other Nations

Easter morning dawned bright and beautiful in Western Montana. I glanced out the window and there sat Sylvilagus nuttalliithe mountain cottontail. Though our mostly-wild, predominantly-native property is perfect habitat, rabbits don’t show themselves readily, and the sighting was a special treat. I mean, who doesn’t love a bunny?!? Then I recalled the day a few years back when we heard gun shots across the road and saw the neighbor throw a limp body from his then-unfenced garden. No, not everyone loves a bunny.

Later, relaxing with the Sunday paper, a feel-good Easter story about a “bunny rancher” left me feeling decidedly bad. “I only have three Easter bunnies left right now,” the breeder told the reporter. “This time of year, they go as fast as I can make them.”    Continue reading

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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