Thursday, May 6, 2010


It is an unfortunate irony that at a time of year when rabbits are considered to be the symbol of hope and renewal, the University of Victoria’s administration chooses such a time to announce their plans to slaughter the feral rabbits residing on their campus.

As someone who was deeply involved in the feral rabbit situation in Kelowna, I can only sympathize with Victoria’s citizens who are, as yet, unaware of the possible disruptions and crisis to come. As history tends to repeats itself I believe Victoria’s citizens can expect to experience the following:

-Hot debate about rabbits, in the editorials, on the busses, in the streets, between neighbours. Expect some of those debates to become disturbances.

-Demonstrations and rallies, as those who believe there is another way besides the slaughter try to build support for a humane solution. The Wednesday, April 20th gathering at UVic is just the beginning of a long campaign. Expect the crowds to get bigger each time.

-Vandalism, as some citizens chose inappropriate ways to show their horror and frustration at the killings.

-Citizens risking life, limb and public and private property to rescue the rabbits, literally stealing them from the streets and campus. Expect some of those rabbits to be released in ‘nice places’ around town, creating an even larger problem.

-Citizens who will begin their own poisoning campaigns while other will show up at the killing fields with their own weapons, ‘just to help out’.

-Victoria becoming the butt of editorial cartoons across Canada and beyond. News editors love these stories, although your own media will become very tired of reporting about rabbits. Expect some important issues in the battle for the rabbits lives to go unreported even though the rabbit issue is likely to become the news story of the year.

- Tourists paying close attention to the situation while they are with you. Expect them to take their stories home with them.

-Victoria making the front page of PETA and other such sites, always good for worldwide publicity, prompting emails and calls from all over the world, and more everyday as word of the slaughter spreads. Wait until the desperate letters from schoolchildren start arriving.

-Exterminators being harassed and followed, with rabbits sent to ground or scattered before they can arrive.

-Exterminators caught (and perhaps even recorded) doing something so horribly cruel to a rabbit (like stomping a wounded animal to death) that the public outcry drowns out any cull arguments, the public demanding a humane solution, though not before Victoria is established as a killing ground on YouTube and beyond.

The previous list is not imagined, it is a partial telling of events that happened during the two years it took to resolve Kelowna’s feral rabbit situation. In the end, Kelowna adopted a humane solution of live capture, sex separation, foster programs for appropriate animals and sanctuaries for those remaining. Food, care and bedding are provided by a combination of public and private funds and volunteer labour. Of the original fifteen hundred feral rabbits condemned to die, more than one thousand were saved.

Unfortunately, Victoria is about to go through an ugly, heartbreaking chapter in its history for no better reasons than the ego and ignorance of those who have been placed in positions of responsibility for the lives and deaths of UVic’s feral rabbits. The rabbits only hope now is for Victoria’s citizens to realize, hopefully sooner than later, that a humane solution is not only available but also has greater long term benefits than any short sighted cull could ever produce.

To those who believe there is a better way, I ask you to add you voice to the debate, speak for those who have no voice.

To the citizens of Victoria, I again offer my sympathy, and I wish the City luck, as I expect it will need it.

Roxane Woldenga

Summerland, B.C.

BunnyLuv Rabbitry
April 29 at 7:49pm · Report

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