To identify implicit causes of companion rabbit relinquishment, this study investigated whether there was annual and seasonal variation in the number of advertisements and ages of rabbits posted as free or for sale on classified websites in the United Kingdom. The number of advertisements posted decreased from 2014 to 2016. There was an increase in the number of advertisements for free rabbits in winter compared with other seasons, which could be a result of caregivers’ reduced willingness to interact with their rabbits and carry out husbandry during periods of inclement weather. Rabbits advertised as free were older than rabbits advertised for sale, and rabbits relinquished due to human-related reasons were older than those relinquished because of rabbit-related factors. It is recommended that further research is undertaken to elucidate whether providing education to prospective rabbit caregivers regarding the life span of rabbits and their substantial husbandry requirements, especially in winter, would deter the purchase of rabbits by caregivers unable or unwilling to care for them in the long term.
|Publication Title||Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science|
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