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The Stuffed Bunny Movement

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A little less than a year ago, I made the decision to adopt my first bunny. I had always wanted one, and finally reached a point in my life that I was able to get one and care for him/her the way that they needed.

Before I went out and brought my bunny home, I did a ton of research. Multiple websites, organizations, emails, and brochures went into my bunny investigation. I wanted to know everything that there was to know before I brought home my newest family member.

What you don't see in all of the cute videos of bunnies bumping their noses, eating raspberries, and nomming on lettuce, is all of the hard work that actually goes into taking proper care of a rabbit.

Rabbits, for one, need fresh greens daily. Leafy greens, non-leafy greens, herbs, veggies and fruits are all things that should be a part of a rabbit's diet. BUT, all of these things need to be given in the proper balance AND the proper kinds. For example, rabbits eating carrots are a common misconception. While they can have carrots, they shouldn't eat them in great quantities or every single day, like most fruits. Lettuce is another common mistake, as butter lettuce and ice berg lettuce have zero nutritional value for rabbits and should not be given to them. Romaine lettuce, however, is fine. Other greens, such as spinach, need to be given less frequently and in small quantities because it's high in oxalic acids.

Furthermore, rabbits can not just be kept in cages for their entire lives. They require a lot of out time to run around and stretch their back legs so that they develop properly. Also, if you'd like your rabbit to be friendly, you have to socialize them daily and reward them after. It's like training any other pet, our go to treats are fresh blueberries, freeze dried papayas, freeze dried strawberries, and organic barley biscuits (the fruit has to be given in smaller quantities). At this point, my bunny is very accepting of being picked up and patted, as she's been trained to do so. She even looks for our attention, and jumps into our laps.

Rabbits are also very fragile and sensitive creatures. When you hold a rabbit, you must be sure to support them and their back legs, because if they kick too hard, they can snap their spine. Because rabbits are usually the prey, they are conditioned so. They are easily frightened, and there are horror stories of how rabbits can literally be scared-to-death.

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I could go on, but I think my point has been made about how rabbits need special care and are very fragile creatures.

85 percent of bunnies who are purchased for Easter will wind up in a shelter or thrown on to the street. Most of these rabbits will not make it to their first birthday, or spend the rest of their lives in the shelter. This, is no way for any animal to live.

We can, however, help these animals. The Stuffed Bunny Movement is a movement that simply states, for Easter, give a stuffed bunny as a gift and not a real one. This will help to give the bunnies a better quality of life, by letting them be taken home by someone fully prepared to care for them, and someone fully committed for the 8-12 years that bunnies live.

This is not to discourage you from adopting a little bun and welcoming them to your family. Bunnies are difficult pets, but it pays off. They're very loving and affectionate and like any pet, will basically act how you train them to. Encouraging good behavior with blueberries, freeze dried papaya or any sort of all natural treat, will help them realize what a good bunny should do. Plus, they're just flat out adorable.

There are many different breeds of bunnies, just like any animal, so check into that before adopting as well! Additionally, bunnies mate for life, and will bond with one partner. The bonding process is usually pretty difficult and it needs to be done properly to make sure that no bunnies get hurt, but bunnies are very social animals, so they'll be appreciative of it in the long run!

Good luck and remember, buy a stuffed bunny for Easter, not a real one.

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