The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

During the Year of the Rabbit, Let’s Stick With Chocolate Bunnies in Easter Baskets

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Jack Kolz

During one unusual middle school spring recess period, current senior William Ling-Regan spotted a small and domestic-appearing bunny huddling under a bush in the Poly Prep Memorial Garden. While seemingly unusual at the time, Poly Prep, as a unique 25-acre grassy campus in an otherwise urban setting, would soon become wrongfully established as a hub of animal, particularly bunny, abandonment. “[During recess] we would see bunnies either crouched in the forest or running around by the garden that people had just left there,” recalled Ling-Regan. “We saw a chicken one time, we have seen cats, there were a whole bunch of animals.”  

Unfortunately, the spring timing of these bunny sightings was not random. According to Abandoned Rabbits, an informational blog dedicated to advocating for abandoned pet rabbits, while rabbits are the third most popular animal companion in the US, they are also the third most abandoned, especially in the months following Easter. At Luv-N-Bunns, a rabbit rescue in the Philadelphia area, the shelter’s Director of Intake and Adoptions, Elizabeth Luczyszyn, estimates that of the 150 rabbits taken in by the shelter annually, 75 percent are Easter purchases. “A lot of people think it’s a really cute gift to get their kids a little Easter bunny,” said Luczyszyn in a Billy Penn article. “Then, there’s an influx of people wanting to return them.” After impulsive and uneducated holiday purchases, people realize the true commitment of correctly caring for a bunny, and many are quickly surrendered. Along with bunny abandonment, neglect itself also poses  a significant issue, as four out of five rabbits bought as pets near Easter are abandoned or die within a year, according to Metro News. 

I’ve never lived somewhere where this [bunny abandonment] happens as often as it does here. We’re getting calls every week.

— PJ McKosky

In past years, the bunny abandonment and neglect problem has been particularly magnified in New York. In a DNA Info article, P.J. McKosky, a volunteer for the Brooklyn-based rescue group Empty Cages Collective, said, “I’ve never lived somewhere where this [bunny abandonment] happens as often as it does here. We’re getting calls every week.” Reportedly, within these abandonments, Poly Prep Country Day School, Prospect Park, Sunset Park, and Central Park are popular “bunny dumping grounds” because of their perceived “natural” landscapes that, in reality, are completely unfit for a domesticated bunny. 

Although bunnies are commonly misconstrued as a “starter pet” because of their small size, they often require the same care and attention as larger pets such as cats and dogs. Especially in New York City, while people might think of bunnies as more of an “apartment sized” pet, bunnies require an enclosure of at least eight square feet, and as active and energetic animals, should have access to an exercise space of a minimum of 24 square feet in which they can exercise in for at least five hours a day, according to House Rabbit Society, an international nonprofit animal welfare organization.

While some may argue that a quick fix to bunny abandonment is to stop keeping all bunnies as pets, there are many bunnies out there, especially mistreated abandoned or former lab bunnies, that deserve to be adopted to live an ethical and deserving life with a fit and responsible caretaker. According to a questionnaire of 1,516 rabbit owners conducted by Sarah A. McMahon and Ellie Wigham, bunnies truly experience emotions, and their health, happiness, lifespan, and overall welfare are greatly influenced by their living conditions, food, and time spent with their owners. As many of these criteria are compromised within labs or shelters, seasoned pet owners looking for a ten-year commitment of a bunny who are willing to educate themselves on their needs should opt to save one of the 6.2 million sheltered bunnies nationwide, according to Faunalytics. But, unless you are willing to anticipate the true responsibilities of correctly caring for and owning a bunny, when assembling your easter baskets in the coming years, stick with chocolate bunnies as holiday props. A real bunny able to live up to ten years doesn’t deserve a disposable shelf life. 

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About the Contributor
Charlotte Roberts, Head Layout Editor
Charlotte Roberts is a current Head Layout Editor for the Polygon. Charlotte has been a layout editor for two years and has written for the Polygon for three years in total. Her favorite pieces to write are in-depth news stories and op-eds. Outside of the Polygon, Charlotte also writes for outside-of-school publications. Within school, Charlotte is a Co-Captain of the crew team, an elected Honor Council member, a peer tutor, a Co-President of the Criminal Psychology Club, a yearbook photographer, a member of Women's Affinity, and a Blue Key leader. Outside of school, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and trying new recipes. 

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