The Companion Animal Sector Council (CASC) is working on updating a national rabbit welfare strategy.
The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund (RWAF), the Pet Industry Federation, Peter Scott of CASC, the RSPCA, the British Rabbit Council, Nicola Rooney of the University of Bristol, and Richard Saunders – representing both RWAF and the British Zoological Veterinary Society Association – are members of a working group called the Rabbit Welfare Stakeholder Implementation Group (RWSIG).
Towards the end of last year, the RSPCA, in conjunction with a team of researchers from the animal welfare and behaviour group at the University of Bristol, produced some important research into domestic rabbit welfare.
This research is yet to be peer-reviewed for publication so its findings have not been released, but it provided scientific evidence of a number of key welfare issues faced by pet rabbits.
The research prompted a meeting of the RWSIG, in which the existing CASC document was reviewed in conjunction with the RSPCA study and findings of a report produced by the PDSA, and a way forward agreed.
The updated welfare strategy draft comprises 10 evidence-based aims covering different priority areas to most improve rabbit welfare.
Each of the aims comprises actions with short, medium and long-term targets wherever possible and the document will be the basis for joint working by all interested parties across the domestic rabbit spectrum.
Anyone who would like to be a consultee is asked to contact RWSIG via the RWAF at firstname.lastname@example.org