Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's Thumper's Year!


Happy Chinese New Year! As it is the Year of the Rabbit, it seemed only fitting to draw attention to the section of our website that explores the issue of rabbits killed for food.
And, well, since a bunny has recently come into my life, I thought I would write a bit about that too. Since I was young, my favorite animals have always been sharks (thanks to Jaws) and cats (thanks to the strays in my apartment complex when I was little) – yes, I know, not exactly vegan critters. One of my favorite websites is http://icanhascheezburger.com/.
One rainy day when I was in college, I moved out of my dorm and into an apartment where I discovered a mama cat and her two kittens. I immediately became the proud parent of the mother and one of her babies, who had not even opened his eyes. I named him Malcolm (after Malcolm X), and he was a constant in my life one month shy of 17 years – I lost him in April of 2009. You can read more about Malcolm here: http://www.kerulos.org/projects/t-s-foodempowerment.html
The pain of losing my baby has been so intense for me that I have chosen not to have any more animals (in addition, my traveling schedule isn’t the best for a critter).
Recently, my boyfriend and I have moved in together, and with him has come his bunny (he only rescues special-needs rabbits).

I am close to many bunny lovers, but while I have appreciated their love and passion, I had previously only adored bunnies from afar. And now I am living with one. And, yes, she has won me over.

One of the most amazing things I have learned (and I know all of you bunny people are probably bored by now) is how incredible it is that their natural behaviors are still very much a part of their lives. My favorite example: bunnies use their powerful hind legs to thump the ground when they sense something – a predator, a strange noise, whatever – that they need to warn other rabbits about. And our bunny, in this case, thumps when our neighbors are too loud! I encourage her of course, hoping they will get the hint and quiet down – but truly, I am in awe of this instinct.

And not to get too sad here, but really the extent of my learning about rabbits has been in my work against cosmetic testing and animal experimentation. Most of what I know about rabbits – no tear glands, how silent they are, etc. – I’ve discovered in the context of them being experimented on for products from perfumes to detergents. It has always filled with me sadness and anger, and now I feel the only adequate word is anguish. Getting to know the true nature of these creatures as they clean their ears and hop with joy, my heart breaks at the thought of a laboratory and all of the thumping that might take place … or, perhaps worse yet, for those rabbits whose instinct has been bred out of them.
For information on buying cruelty-free, please see:
http://www.leapingbunny.org/

Anyhow, let’s make this Year of the Rabbit an opportunity to inform people about animals used in experiments and those animals raised for food – including rabbits!

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