Chocolate rabbits before real ones?


Johanna Coburn

Two pet rabbits belonging to a member of the CCAHS staff.

Johanna Coburn, Reporter

When you think of Easter, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Candy? Spring? Cute Baby animals? More specific. Baby chicks? Rabbits? But certainly not as gifts, we hope! But unfortunately that statement turns out to be not as true as you may think. Year after year these adorable animals are given away without thought, to be cared for and loved, but in return they are left for the dust and abandoned. That’s not the first thing you think of when it comes to Easter but it still happens.

Of all animals left to be abandoned, rabbits are at the third most. Most people who give the animals as gifts believe it will be a good learning experience for the child, or they will be happy with a new bunny. After time goes by, the child may lose interest and the rabbit is either cared for by the parent or possibly released outside “back into the wild”. 

Domestic rabbits cannot fend for themselves because they have had the outdoor instinct bred out of them so that they could live inside comfortably. Releasing them into the wild would simply confuse the animal, and not knowing what to do they become easy prey for animals like cats, hawks, and even dogs. The ones who do make it past that suffer from hypothermia during the cold-rainy seasons, or overheat during extremely hot days.

As for chicks, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated, “Children younger than five years of age shouldn’t handle or touch chicks, ducklings or other poultry, as young children are even more likely to get sick from germs like Salmonella.” This disease could kill a young child much faster than an adult because of their growing immune system. 

“As of Dec. 17, 2020, a total of 1,722 people infected with one of the outbreak strains of Salmonella were reported from all 50 states — 333 people were hospitalized and there was one death.” Food Safety News stated. Buying baby chicks is one of the main causes of this. The owner could pick it up from simply not washing their hands after handling the chick, with teens and younger being even more susceptible to this than adults- it could become a problem even more than it did in 2020.

Currently the United States is dealing with the Avian Influenza or the “bird flu” sweeping through the chicken population. The flu has reached from bird to human beings in Russia, which is highly uncommon to catch, but it is asymptomatic. “Some strains of avian flu, like H7N9 and H5N1, are more likely to cause severe illness and even death,” states verywellHealth, ”The current outbreak of H5N8 is “rather concerning” for poultry because it’s lethal.” This is lethal in the bird population, this means human beings have nothing to worry about other than the fact that they might not get their chicken soup or nuggets for their nightly meal.

Properly caring for rabbits takes a lot of time and energy, they require attention at high levels so they don’t get into something that could cause them harm. Rabbits also can’t just be fed anything, they need to eat the majority of hay in their diet, with some lettuce greens, or maybe some oats for a small treat. Because they need so much care, giving them as pets to a small child is not ideal. Children are irresponsible like it or not, and they certainly could not care for such a high maintenance animal easily. 

Taking all of this into consideration, rabbits and chicks are not a good gift to give this spring season. Purchase a chocolate or stuffed rabbit for your family and friends- and maybe stick to colorful eggs before chicks next easter celebration.