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Proposed rabbit farms to be free-range

News Section Icon Published 09/05/2011

Compassion in World Farming is saluting the British public for strongly objecting to plans for the possible six battery rabbit farms across the UK.  Following this public pressure, T&S Nurseries has now made a U-turn on its plans to hold thousands of rabbits in cages and is now thinking about making the rabbit farms "as free-range as practically possible".

Having led the successful campaign to get barren battery cages for hens banned across the whole of the European Union - a ban which comes into force next January - Compassion was horrified at the potential increase in factory farming of rabbits in the UK.

Good news!

Within a week of Compassion speaking to The Guardian, Philip Kerry, the farmer making the proposals, announced he had changed his plans and hopes to keep the rabbits in outdoor paddocks; evidence of how powerful public pressure can be. Compassion hopes that Mr Kerry will not just think about it, but commit to making the rabbit farms free-range.

Joyce D'Silva, Director of Public Affairs today went on BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme to speak to Philip Kerry about his new proposals. Listen here >>

Why should we avoid caging rabbits?

Rabbits are highly active creatures with strong instincts to hop, rear up with their ears pointed, play and burrow. They should always be kept with plenty of outdoor space in which to fulfil these behaviours.

Our information shows that in these caged intensive systems, rabbits can be so starved of any stimulation, such as hay to eat and places in which to burrow, that out of sheer frustration they  bite  at each others' ears.

What does Compassion in World Farming think?

Compassion believes that if rabbits, or any animals are to be farmed, then we have a responsibility to ensure that they are kept in humane farming systems.   They must be allowed to live a life free from pain and mental distress, and  be able to exercise their natural behavioural patterns. Keeping thousands of rabbits together in small, barren cages, where rabbits farmed in Europe typically have less space than an A4 sheet of paper each, is completely unacceptable. It is Compassion's aim that factory farming will be abolished by the year 2050.

Joyce D'Silva, Director of Public Affairs at Compassion in World Farming says:
"Rabbits are highly active, social animals. The industrial production of rabbits treats these bright and playful creatures as mere production units.  I am sure the public agrees with us that battery rabbit farming must not become commonplace."

We believe that farm animals should not and need not suffer.

If you agree, please support us today. Your donation could help end all forms of farm animal cruelty and help us stop factory farming in its tracks. We receive no government funding so rely entirely on the generosity of our supporters to prevent cruelty to farm animals all over the world.

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