Make Mine Chocolate
Easter’s no fun for a REAL bun!
The Message: Rabbits are NOT Disposable Pets
Rabbits are a familiar symbol of the Easter holiday. In the days leading up to this holiday, they appear on television commercials and packages of candy, and stores are filled with stuffed rabbits. It is no surprise that children beg their parents for a bunny of their own. Many families bring cute “Easter bunnies” into their homes only to lose interest in them in a matter of weeks or months. Unprepared and misinformed about how to care for these unique creatures, many rabbits often succumb to poor diet, illness, and lack of knowledgeable veterinary care. Others are dumped outside where predators, cars, and injury virtually guarantee an early death. The fortunate ones find their way to a shelter and potential adoption.
In the months following Easter, rabbit rescue groups like the House Rabbit Resource Network (HRRN) here in Austin and shelters nationwide are flooded with rabbits – former Easter gifts whose owners no longer want them. HRRN received 115 rabbits in 2004, over 70 of them in the months shortly after Easter. The goal of the “Make Mine Chocolate!” campaign is to break the cycle of purchase and relinquishment by educating the public about the responsibilities involved in keeping a companion rabbit before a purchase is
The Symbol: The Make Mine Chocolate Pin
In an attempt to address this annual problem, the HRRN has partnered with other national rabbit and animal welfare organizations to educate the public on the realities of living with a house rabbit and to discourage giving live rabbits as Easter gifts. The “Make Mine Chocolate!” campaign originated with the Columbus House Rabbit Society two years ago as an attempt to address the problem of unwanted rabbits at its source. Using ceramic pins in the form of chocolate bunnies as the symbol, the campaign’s goal is to spread the message that rabbits should not be casual purchases and to educate the public about the special needs of these often-fragile creatures. Our goal is to educate the public of the challenges of properly caring for rabbits and to encourage them to purchase chocolate Easter bunnies (or stuffed toy animals) rather than live rabbits.
The Campaign: Partners in Protecting Rabbit
The consequences of the Easter rabbit problem are enormous. In addition to the suffering experienced by the unwanted or poorly cared for rabbits, the costs imposed on animal welfare organizations that take in rabbits are significant. Foster homes and shelters are overwhelmed, limited resources must cover veterinary and other expenses, and volunteer time is at a premium. HRRN’s goal in partnering with other “Make Mine Chocolate!” campaign organizations is to address the problem at its source: change the public’s attitude towards rabbits and reduce the number of uninformed purchases. In the same way the need to spay and neuter cats and dogs is recognized by the majority of Americans, we believe that the message not to buy rabbits as Easter gifts can become an integral part of American views on companion animals. Those individuals truly seeking to give a rabbit a good home also need to know that adoption is an option. This will benefit both the
rabbits and organizations like HRRN that try to help them. With each partner organization serving its community, we can change the way Americans think about companion rabbits. And with the “Make Mine Chocolate!” campaign, we can improve the lives of thousands of domestic rabbits nationwide.
The Return: A Happy Easter for Rabbits
The ultimate success of our campaign will be in reducing the number of rabbits surrendered to shelters and rescue groups each year in the aftermath of Easter. By working together to “Make Mine Chocolate!” we CAN achieve this dream. For more information on the “Make Mine Chocolate!” campaign and partner organizations, visit www.makeminechocolate.org