Easter is just around the corner and with it comes attention to the animal associated most with the holiday: rabbits. Alycia Corpiel, from Space Coast Animal Rights Group, recently placed an order of buttons from us to hand out at their events to raise awareness that bunnies are a loving but serious commitment. We talk with Alycia a little bit about her cause.
Kick Bright: Rabbits are cute. It seems like they would make a great pet. What should someone know going into adding a rabbit to their household?
Alycia Corpiel: Rabbits are super cute and are amazing pets! However, they take a lot more work than most people think. For one, they are 10+ year commitment and need to be spayed/neutered. They are very active, social animals, so they need a lot of attention and do not do well in a cage. Also, rabbits are so fragile. They are prone to heart attacks and can easily die by just eating the wrong thing. Unlike a cat or dog, rabbits are prey animals and startle easy, especially around situations of uncertainty, like with young children. And if those points aren’t enough for you, rabbits will chew on everything so you definitely need to bunny proof your home.
What kinds of things happen to rabbits when owners get tired of having them?
Well, if they are lucky, they make it to loving rescue groups. However, most of these rabbits don’t get this chance. A lot of bunnies are released to the wild, where they have no chance of survival, but mostly, these people will hold onto the rabbit and neglect it until it dies. It’s crazy because so many people are so unaware of the care these animals take that they honestly think they are doing it the right way, when really they are neglecting the rabbit and putting it at risk of illness or death. Through rabbit rescue, I have seen so many rabbits abandoned that are so filthy or so sick. Despite the thousands put into vet care, many of these animals will die quickly after arriving to the rescue. For example, Gainesville Rabbit Rescue caught a rabbit that was loose last year and she was so sick and covered in mites, to where they were living in her ears, anus, etc, that she died very quickly, despite the immediate vet care she received. It’s just so heartbreaking.
Tell me a little about your involvement with the #notjustforeaster campaign. What is your involvement with the Space Coast Animal Rights Group?
I founded Space Coast Animal Rights toward the end of 2014, shortly after moving back to my hometown, Melbourne, FL. I had been vegan and an activist for several years at this point and I was so shocked by how little was being done locally to defend animals. There was a lot being done as far as rescue, but not so much along the lines of defending animals outside of dogs or cats or widely encouraging people to adopt, rather than shop. So, I started SCAR and it just grew and grew.
As for #NotJust4Easter, prior to starting SCAR, I volunteered with Gainesville Rabbit Rescue at their Orlando Chapter for several years. I saw so many abandoned rabbits come in after Easter so I knew I wanted to really focus on this in the Spring with SCAR. Originally, it was just going to be a social media campaign and I would do a couple of protests locally, but when we were awarded a grant from Lush Cosmetics in December, it blew up into a nationwide campaign, with activists planning #NotJust4Easter events all around the country. The response has been so amazing. It really gives me hope.
Do you have any rabbits for pets? How many? Tell me something about them.
Yes, I have two rescue rabbits. Scotch is a male American breed who was adopted from Gainesville Rabbit Rescue and is seven years old. He’s so adorable and very curious, always inspecting every inch of the house. He’s very reserved and doesn’t like to be touched very often but he will happily let you sit next to him and compliment him in soft tones. Lol. Skye is totally opposite of Scotch. She is four years old and a mini rex breed, adopted from Treasure Coast Humane Society. Honestly, I don’t believe she’s an actual rabbit.. She’s more like a bossy lap dog. She’s definitely a diva bunny and demands things to be her way but she’s also super loving and will lick your face for hours if you let her.
Where can people get more information?
For more information on the #NotJust4Easter Campaign and to get involved, visit www.notjust4easter.com. For more on rabbit care, visit www.rabbit.org. If you’d like to adopt an animal, Petfinder.com is a great resource.