One of Britain’s most popular pets, the rabbit, is also one of its misunderstood, according to research conducted by a University of Northampton PhD student.
Clare Ellis, a Moulton College lecturer, is studying towards a PhD investigating personality and temperament testing in rabbits with the University of Northampton.
Researchers at the institutions have launched an online study to find out why people give up their pets, particularly rabbits, and Clare said: “Having worked in a rescue centre in Lancashire previously, I have seen first-hand just how many pets are given up by their owners each year.
“This project is a fantastic opportunity to be able to explore this topic further through my research at Moulton College, and will hopefully benefit rabbits and their owners in the long term by helping us understand why rabbits are given up as pets.”
The researchers have been visiting animal rescue centres including Camp Nibble in Leeds, where a dedicated team take in rabbits that have either been given up by owners, neglected or abandoned. Last year Camp Nibble took in 153 rabbits.
Hannah Potts, founder of Camp Nibble, said: “Rabbits are widely misunderstood animals and are very often mistakenly taken on as cheap, easy pets. In many cases the responsibility for their care is even left in the hands of children.”
Rescue centres only show one side of the story, so the Northampton researchers are encouraging members of the public to complete a simple questionnaire so they can better understand the reasons why people make the difficult decision to give up their pets. Anyone that currently owns, or has previously owned any pet can take part.
To complete the survey, click here.