The Mercury reports on a myxomatosis affliction that has hit Big Ears Sanctuary, an Australian no-kill animal rescue and sanctuary. Myxomatosis is a painful disease that has been used in Australia as an attempt to control wild rabbit population due to the apparent lack of natural predators. This inhumane attempt has proven to be ineffective, and has introduced suffering and heartbreak among the local rabbit community. From their post:
Big Ears Sanctuary co-owner Jacqui Steele said she discovered two rabbits with symptoms of the disease at the Longford property on Tuesday and a vet confirmed they had contracted the contagious virus, which has a 98 per cent death rate.
Mrs Steele discovered five more sick rabbits yesterday and has grave fears for the rest of her more than 200 rabbits.
“These rabbits had already been through so much before we rescued them, so this is just really unfair,’’ she said.
Although a vaccine exists for the disease, the Australian government has put a ban in place, claiming that the immunity could spread to the wild population. Annie Gardiner of Sydney knows the pain of being denied this vital vaccination, when she lost her beloved Benji to this disease. She has started a petition calling on a change to this senseless rule. From her petition:
The Australian Government needs to realise that bunnies are the 3rd most popular pets in Australia only behind dogs and cats. No bunny and no pet owner should have to endure the horrible pain and heartbreak of losing a beloved bunny, a family member and innocent fluffy animal.
Wild rabbits don’t even deserve the horrendous effects of the myxoma virus, the lethal disease that causes swelling of the face, ears, eyes, genitals, lethargy, a decrease in appetite, kidney failure with blood in the urine, conjunctivitis of the eyes, fever, blindness, and eventually kills these poor helpless animals.
The virus was introduced to kill the wild rabbit population in Australia. This was also done in the UK and similarly around areas of Europe. However, other than Australia, the humane decision to allow the immunisation from the deadly disease, for domestic pet bunnies, protects beloved pet bunnies from this incredibly debilitating, painful death.
Please support fellow rabbit lovers and sign this petition. Your support can help end the needless suffering of rabbits like Benji, and the rescues at Big Ears Sanctuary.