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Original photo by Tara Lamorgese

For the Love of Rabbits

The Easter Bunny: a well renowned mythical creature known for leaving sweets and goodies for children on Easter Sunday. Responsible for festivities such as egg treasure hunts, the Easter Bunny is an iconic figure for children worldwide.

According to Time, the tradition of the Easter Bunny originated in early German settlements within the U.S. during the 18th century. Children would make nests for colorful eggs and treats, leaving out carrots for the Easter Bunny’s bearings.

The holiday, which falls on the early onset of the spring season, is often associated with baby animals, such as chicks, ducklings, lambs, and kits, also known as baby rabbits. Resultantly, these animals are often given as gifts to children that admire their cuteness.

But this gift-giving trend has its cons for the animals purchased, especially rabbits.

What price must real rabbits pay for the monetization of the Easter season?

According to Raising-Rabbits.com, roughly seven million rabbits will become Easter gifts and around 90 percent of them will be abandoned by the time they reach six months old.

Anna Gonzalez-Smolski, 53, runs For the Love of Sandy Rabbitry, an ARBA-recognized rabbitry in Howell, New Jersey. The demand for Smolski’s litters triples during the Easter season. But she refuses to sell rabbits during this time, out of fear of impulsive adoption.

“People think that they’re so cute,” Smolski said. “They want to take a bunny and give it to their child for Easter, because of the Easter bunny and the whole nine yards. And the bunny comes home, and they didn’t do their research. And the bunny ends up sitting in a cage, not getting activity. The child gets bored with the bunny.”

Smolski credits the commercialization of rabbits during the Easter season for the increase in demand. Commercials that showcase cute rabbits, such as the Cadbury Bunny, garner people’s attention.

“It’s irresponsible, in my opinion, because rabbits require attention,” Smolski said of people that impulsively purchase rabbits. “Any animal that you buy or bring into your family, you have to look at it as if it’s a pet that you’re going to have for the rest of your life. They’re not pets until your child grows up and goes to college, or until the kids get bored, or until you and your wife get divorced.”

Rabbits can live eight to 14 years. Unbeknownst to popular opinion, they are not simple pets that can be confined to a cage for the entirety of their lives. Rabbits should receive up to three to five hours of daily exercise. They require a special diet of pellets, Timothy hay, green, leafy vegetables, and, occasionally, fruit. Additionally, they require monthly nail trimmings and annual visits to the vet.

If one is willing to take on the responsibility of a rabbit, Smolski recommends that one research the breeder they intend on getting their animal from.

“Your breeder should always give you references and spend time with you. If a breeder does not want to spend time with you on the phone or answering your questions, then you shouldn’t be buying an animal from that breeder,” she stated. “An ethical breeder won’t meet you in the parking lot of a Wawa to exchange their bunny from their trunk.”  

If an individual conducts proper research on rabbits, they are capable of having a wonderful companion that can provide them with affection and love.

“They’re just very good pets if you’re willing to give them the opportunity and the chance. They’re very intelligent animals,” Smolski said.

Smolski currently has seven rabbits that she is breeding, including Romeo, Mona, Obo, Cricket, Ella, Gracie, and Eva.

If you have conducted extensive research on rabbits and are interested in purchasing one, feel free to visit For the Love of Sandy Rabbitry’s website. You can also contact Anna Smolski at (848) 525-4569.

Tara is a New York-based Journalist studying at The Eugene Lang College of The New School. She has a passion for unique storytelling and mental health advocacy. Aside from writing, she enjoys singing and spending time with animals. See more of Tara's work on taralamorgese.wixsite.com/website!
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