Bunny Battle Is On!~Meat or Pet-Can It Be Both?!?~You Decide
I was sent the following article about the issue over rabbits that I think was so beautifully written that I’m posting part of it follow the link for the whole article-Well worth the read!!!
The Battle For Bunny Land
By Miriam Wasser
Cathy Caracciolo is no amateur rabbit breeder. She got her first bunny at a birthday party when she was five, and fifty years later, she still considers herself a rabbit addict. Cathy brings to mind a fondly recalled kindergarten teacher – she is in her mid-fifties, and her bearing and attire of jeans, sweatshirts, and sneakers suggest comfort. She is also a star in the rabbit world.
Cathy is among the nation’s best known breeders of Flemish Giants, a type of rabbit that, as the name implies, are really, really big—often growing to the size of a small dog and weighing as much as eighteen pounds. That she has achieved this status as a woman makes her ascent and position all the more remarkable.
“Once you have a Flemish Giant, you never go back,” she says, pausing to smile at her own joke before flipping the latch on her backyard gate. She lives only about an hour from Manhattan with her husband and two daughters, but their yard feels rural with all the gardening supplies and tools scattered around.
“Pardon the mess,” she adds, blushing a little, and pointing to the rabbit barn.
A sudden electric feeling hits as you enter the barn. Dozens of creatures turn their heads to stare, and all noise seems to cease. With the exception of a few twitching noses, the animals look frozen. And then a moment later, they lose interest and turn back to their rabbit business—chewing on hay and sprawling on the floor, relaxing.
Cathy is accustomed to this welcoming. She goes over to one of the three rows of cages to greet her bunnies. She asks how they’re doing. She pretends to scold those who have overturned or pooped in their water bowls. She knows which rabbits have picky hay-eating habits, which ones are particularly good mothers, and which ones like to rearrange their cages.
A bunny barn is called a rabbitry, and the smell inside Cathy’s is intense, though not unpleasant; the scent of hay mostly masks the astringent odor of urine. The Top-40 countdown plays on the radio, but you can also hear the softer noise of little paw-thuds, the gnawing of chew toys, and the shuffling of plastic bowls being pushed across the metal-wire cage floors. On this March morning, it’s just chilly enough in the barn to necessitate the black fleece Cathy’s wearing—embroidered with an image of a rabbit—though outside, it’s the first warm day of spring.
For Cathy, the changing weather signals the beginning of the rabbit showing season, and she only has a few weeks until the most important show of her year: The National Flemish Giant Show in Taylorsville, North Carolina. Cathy’s background is in technical illustration, and her day job is in administrative assistance. But her true passion is breeding show rabbits. And like many of the other 23,000 members of the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association (ARBA), Cathy is a regular competitor in the showing circuit. Her ranch-style house overflows with trophies, plaques, and ribbons, a testament to her success. She’s famous for her “Blues,” one of the seven Flemish Giant fur colors that, in point of fact, isn’t really blue, but more of a slate or dark gray.
As a show breeder, Cathy’s goal is The Rabbit Standard of Perfection—a set of criteria for a perfect rabbit so specific, it perhaps only exists in the World of Forms. It is no simple task to breed anything close to the standard, and earlier this winter, Cathy was recognized by the National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders for her dedication: The organization awarded her the title of Master Breeder, one of the highest honors in the rabbit world.
There are perhaps 50 rabbits in Cathy’s barn – by no means a high number; she’s had as many as 150. She is at ease and cheerful in their company, a welcome feeling because, as Cathy knows only too well, bunny land is not a peaceful place these days.
The rabbit world is divided—passionately, vehemently divided. On one side are those who believe rabbits are only meant to be pets. On the other are those who insist that rabbits are “multi-purpose animals,” meaning they can be raised for show, or cuddled or eaten.
The battle is being fought legally – in courtrooms and local governments – and in rabbitries, where in its most extreme moments gun-wielding rabbit breeders threaten to shoot “eco-terrorists,” and animal control officers stage large-scale busts. In the past few years, tensions have escalated as so-called “A-R-As” (extreme animal rights activists) target rabbit breeders across the country, vandalizing their barns and stealing their rabbits. In 2011, Debe Bell, a nationally recognized breeder, had her Colorado rabbitry raided by local law enforcement after an anonymous caller reported her for animal cruelty – a crime that in all fifty states, can be a felony. Breeders now refer ominously to this as the “Colorado case.”
Opposing them are rabbit advocacy groups and the (mostly non-violent) animal rights activists who fight to stop animal hoarding and abuse, and to curb the domestic rabbit overpopulation problem. Led largely by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the international, non-profit House Rabbit Society, this side campaigns on behalf of the thousands of homeless, abused, and abandoned rabbits in the country, and won’t declare a truce until all breeding operations are shut down.
There are radicals on both sides. Then there is Cathy, who just wants to raise and show her Flemish Giants.
There is more to this debate than the fate of those who raise bunnies; we’re gambling with the entire genetic diversity of the domestic rabbit. And at its core, the battle over bunnies is about how we think of, and understand the animals themselves:what we do with them, how we treat them, and where they fit in relation to us. Cows, chickens, cats have their places for the most part. Not so the bunny.
For Cathy, and everyone who will be at the National Flemish Giant Show—breeders and rabbits alike—the stakes are high. Losing the bunny battle could mean losing it all.
For more, follow the link- http://www.thebigroundtable.com/stories/the-battle-for-bunny-land/
Disclaimer connected to this blog…Things said are of my opinion and the opinions of others…Stay tuned -B
Thank you Janelle for sending me this very well written article.