Monday, August 13, 2012

Being Responsible with Rabbits and Other Things

Being Responsible with Rabbits and Other Things

(Sigh) I admit it. I am besotted with rabbits despite the problems they cause. I see a baby rabbit and think, “Ooh, what a cute bunny,” even though those cute bunnies eat my flowers, decimate my hostas, and munch on my veggies. But then only a few rabbits habitually visit my backyard. It is a different story in Australia.

European Rabbits were brought to Australia in the 1700s with the first settler fleet. In 1859, Thomas Austin released 24 rabbits on his property in Victoria for the purpose of having hunts. They got loose and did what rabbits are known for – they reproduced like mad. By 1990 the rabbit population was about 600 million. Over the years they have caused devastation in the country. Not only are they destructive to farms, they are problematic for the ecology. Their excessive grazing causes weakened native plants, which often succumb to invasive plants. Too much grazing also depletes the vegetation and causes soil erosion. Here is a real eye-opener about rabbit over-population The effects of rabbit overpopulation are still being felt.

It is a reminder that our actions have a larger effect than we usually think they do. Donald Trump built a golf course in Scotland, dramatically changing the landscape. Will that turn out to be merely a playground for golfers or will it have broader consequences for the local ecology? What will be the outcome in California, both for small independent farmers and large agri-business, as well as the ecosystem of the Sacramento River Delta, if the proposed plan to build tunnels under the delta becomes a reality? What we do has an impact. We need to be responsible in our actions for the good of all, whether it involves leisure or business or rabbits.

If you are interested in a pet rabbit, you need to raise it responsibly.


  1. Hmmmmm, reminds me of Watership Down. Wasn't that a great book?

    1. Yeah, it was. But isn't that bunny so cute?