Those of you who are new to this blog may wonder, "What do rabbits have to do with Buddhism?" Quite a lot, actually, but that is not why we feature "Rabbit Appreciation" so prominently on our masthead.
You see, the thing is, I am rather fond of rabbits. I enjoy keeping up with rabbit news on a worldwide basis. If anything is thumping, I start jumping!
Accordingly, I was so pleased to learn that Big Ears Animal Sanctuary, in Tasmania, was recently able to assist with the rescue of some 300 farm bunnies. You can (and should) read all about the effort on their site. They also have a number of photographs of their charming guests.
Whilst considering rabbits in Oz, you might also visit the Radical Rabbit Organization. They helped Big Ears with the rescue, and seem like now they might need our help. Oh, yes... if you want to see why rescue was necessary, visit the Freedom for Farmed Rabbits site. Warning: not for sensitive eyes.
Turning our attention to England, we find the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund. They have helpful information about hutch size you may wish to consult.
Of course, for those of us who take rabbit service -- you know, bunny butlering -- serious enough to make it a lifelong commitment, there is the ever-durable House Rabbit Society. The HRS site has answers to every rabbit question under the sun and moon, including detailed information on diet: what to eat, and more importantly, what not to eat. You have to watch the little critters very carefully in that regard.
The five links we have given, above, should be enough to quickly immerse you in state-of-the-art rabbit rescue.
In my own case, I have domestic house rabbits, and then I also have a sizable wild rabbit and hare population to think about. I have set aside grounds as a rabbit sanctuary, and maintain the environment so that it affords the lucky lagomorphs optimal sustenance, health, welfare, recreation, and job training opportunities. I keep journals of feeding data, watering data, population, and so forth. I also build brush piles at strategic intervals, so they can lounge in the shade, hide from predators, and digest their meals in peace.
Of all the critters that really need human help to protect them from other humans, rabbits are high on the list. Owing to rapid birthrate they are not in danger of extinction, but what threatens them the most is physical suffering at the hands of farmers, scientists, and little kids who think they are toys.
Rabbits are kind, gentle, loving, often humorous, and clean little creatures who do no harm. The more time you spend with them, the better you will come to understand why rabbits are perfect animal friends for Buddhists. Oh... and here's another little clue:
If you click this link, you'll be taken to a painting of the Seventh Dalai Lama, showing all of his previous incarnations. You'll find our friend here -- the future Dalai Lama -- in the upper right corner.
How do you feel about rescuing rabbits now?