With Easter just around the corner, Richmond’s Rabbitats Rescue Society is hosting a festival to educate families about rabbits this weekend.
The Easter BunnyFest aims to educate families and kids about the responsibilities of owning a pet rabbit through several events on April 16 and 17 at Lavenderland.
Sorelle Saidman, the founder of Rabbitats, said the event is a way for people to know what to expect from rabbits if they are planning to buy or adopt one as a pet.
“People need to know they will have very few options if the bunny ends up unwanted,” said Saidman, adding that it is “extremely difficult” to re-home rabbits if they decide to change their minds.
“Legitimate rescues will take their rabbits back if it doesn’t work out. That’s not the case with pet stores, breeders, Craigslist and other sources. There are thousands of unwanted rabbits in the Lower Mainland.”
Two major highlights of the festival are the society’s “adopt a stuffy” and “meet and treat” programs.
Rabbitats is inviting festival patrons to the Rabbitats Adoption counter where attendees can choose a stuffed animal; receive instructions on taking care of a bunny and an adoption certificate.
Meanwhile, colonies of real rabbits and the option of going inside an enclosure to feed them will be available through the “meet and treat” program.
Saidman told the Richmond News that they have been looking for alternatives to inhumane “petting zoos” where people can meet the rabbits without stressing them out.
Certain petting zoos, said Saidman, force the animals to participate.
The program will give visitors a cup of healthy treats such as kale, cilantro and other greens to feed the rescued rabbits while volunteers are nearby to supervise the interactions.
And if the rabbits are not feeling comfortable, they will hide in their “people-proof” houses and benches.
“(The program) has been a great teaching tool for children,” said Saidman.
“The kids learn if they’re quiet and patient, they’ll be rewarded with friendly interaction. If they’re noisy or impatient, the rabbits will retreat into their burrows.”
Admission is $5 minimum at the door or online through the Eventbrite page.
Funds from the event will support the Rabbitats Rescue Society to rescue or control abandoned pet rabbits and their offspring.