This is a (mostly) happy story about rescued bunnies!
But a wee introduction first about why bunnies need rescuing.
Most manufacturers of products like personal care and household cleaning items test them on animals. Very often those animals are rabbits.
This has not gone unnoticed by animal-loving consumers. Many shoppers review more than price and ingredients before buying a product. They also look for an indication that it is “cruelty free,” meaning that it was not tested on animals. Avoiding products that were tested on animals is a boycott with a message for manufacturers: stop experimenting on living beings and then we’ll start giving you our money.
Some companies have heeded the call and do not conduct or commission any vivisection. Others test away, very often on rabbits.
There is evidence of growing corporate interest in moving away from cruel research. One company took an unusual step in this direction that spared the lives and granted the liberty of two adorable four-month-old rabbits.
Experiments on Animals
The way these things usually work is: researchers procure animals (sometimes from businesses that breed them, sometimes from shady sources that could originate in your backyard dog house — yes, it happens). A company pays the researchers to use its products to do nasty things to the animals. Some examples:
Researchers often apply products to animals’ mucous membranes (their eyes, noses, and mouths) or their raw, shaved skin. These tests are meant to reveal whether the product will cause allergic or other reactions in humans, but they have generally proven less effective than alternative tests that don’t use animals. The most common product tests all end with the animal subjects’ execution.
Things proceeded a little differently for two bunnies in a laboratory in the San Francisco Bay Area. The company that manufactured the product to be tested, that asked for the test and that paid for the test, had a request: don’t kill the rabbits when you’re done. Get them adopted instead.
So the lab got in touch with the House Rabbit Society in Richmond, California, about adopting the rabbits out. The House Rabbit Society (HRS), with Shelter Director Anne Martin leading the charge, paired up with the Beagle Freedom Project. HRS picked the pair of bunnies up from the lab and brought them back to their office where they spent their first day of freedom, which HRS was considerate enough to preserve for you in this movie:
Courtesy of House Rabbit Society, Richmond, CA
Then the buns, now named Lillian and Heather, headed to the Beagle Freedom Project (BFP), where they will be spayed and, in a few weeks, will be ready for adoption!
Martin says that the vet who examined them does not expect them to have any lasting injuries from the experiment they were in, which involved putting a product in their eyes. She doesn’t have any details about it or about the lab.
The Beagle Freedom Project in southern California works to rescue animals from laboratories with a focus on beagles, who are very common test subjects. Martin says that BFP has written to every lab in the country asking them to release animals for adoption at the end of research tests instead of killing them.
You can help end vivisection by boycotting products tested on animals and buying only cruelty-free, Martin says. Two websites that list companies that do not test on animals are Leaping Bunny and Compassionate Consumer List.
If you are interested in adopting Lillian and Heather, contact BFP. Both HRS and BFP need volunteers and donations to sustain their work for the animals; please contact them if you are interested:
Top photo: Photodisc