The British Veterinary Association has said that pet shops should no longer be selling rabbits on their own, stating the social animals feel depressed and lonely when not in a pair.
According to findings the BVA published last June, almost half the number of rabbits kept as pets are lonely. Their survey of approximately 18,000 vets in the United Kingdom found that a shocking 42 per cent of rabbits are sold alone, and that 73 per cent of vets surveyed had seen rabbits that were not having their welfare needs met as a result of having no companion.
The study also found that when they were presented with a choice between companionship and eating, the animals will often choose spending time with another rabbit over food. The BVA is now petitioning the British government to ban the sale of rabbits on their own.
Commenting on the issue, BVA president and vet Daniella Dos Santos stated: "Whether they are outside or inside, pet rabbits are highly sociable animals and benefit from buddying up with a suitable companion, so it's a big concern that so many in the UK still live alone. It's important to acknowledge the significance of companionship and adequate housing space to keep rabbits happy and healthy."
She continued: "Anyone thinking of taking on a pair or group of rabbits should seek expert veterinary guidance to help make sure that the match is successful."Recently, Finn's Law came into effect in the UK to protect animals:
She added: "For example, if you're starting from scratch, a neutered pair is ideal but if you already have a lone rabbit and you're wondering whether you should get a companion, ask your vet what your options are, what companion would be best suited to your rabbit's health and welfare needs and the safest way to introduce them."