The Rabbit Awareness Action Group (RAAG), comprising some of the UK’s largest animal welfare organisations and charities and led by Burgess Pet Care, has announced that the theme of this year’s Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) will focus on environment. Now in its 16th year, RAW 2022 will take place from 27 June.
Launched to coincide with this year’s BSAVA Congress, the RAW campaign theme “Room for Rabbits“ follows research that 38 percent of vets think rabbits’ environment is the most neglected welfare need, with over a quarter of the UK’s rabbits being kept in inadequate housing conditions, and almost half of them living alone. The same survey also found that 90 percent of vets believe that rabbits’ welfare in the UK is improving.
“Room for Rabbits” will throw a spotlight on rabbits’ environment, with a wealth of initiatives during RAW including vet blogs and videos on how to adapt bunnies’ housing for all seasons, boredom buster ideas, a competition to encourage owners to create a RAW “gold standard” environment and downloadable packs containing resources for practices to create their own RAW campaigns.
Holly Castle, senior brand manager at Burgess Pet Care, RAAG member and organisers of RAW, said: “We are delighted that RAW continues to have a positive impact, with our survey showing that 90 percent of vets believe that the welfare of the UK’s rabbits is improving – but there is always more than we can do.
“Since the previous RAW campaign, we have successfully launched RAAG, which recognises that the welfare of these wonderful creatures needs to be high on the agenda year-round.
“By bringing together the expertise of the RAW partners, RAAG is focused on encouraging everyone involved with rabbits to support the first Good Practice Code for rabbits’ welfare in England to ensure it becomes enshrined in law. One of the ways to achieve this is through initiatives like RAW, which is the UK’s largest welfare campaign of its kind.
“We recognise that vets’ practices were really stretched last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which meant it was difficult to support campaigns like RAW. However, following a surge in demand for rabbit ownership in the UK during the past two years, it is vitally important that we educate more owners than ever before and continue to help improve rabbits’ welfare.
“The veterinary community plays a hugely important role in ensuring that owners have access to the right information, and we are urging practices to throw their support behind this year’s RAW to ensure that we reach as many owners as possible.
Professor Ian Ramsey, president of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA), which endorses RAW, said: “The BSAVA is once again delighted to support RAW and the theme of this year’s campaign. Rabbits remain one of the most misunderstood pets in the UK, but we are confident that vets across the UK will again show their support for this important campaign to improve the lives of pet rabbits.”
The RAAG is encouraging vets’ practices to sign up to receive important updates about RAW on their website.
Downloadable RAW vet packs will also be available from 6 June.