Dear Microsoft: Don’t pimp the rabbit

I sent the following email to Waggener Edstrom (ad agency for Microsoft), and Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, yesterday. It’s about a Microsoft video that I recently watched called, “Rabbits Rule.”

The video features a classroom rabbit called “Sniffs” and promotes Microsoft Office 2010 software.

Watch the video. If you think it does a disservice to rabbits, contact Waggener Edstrom and/or Mr. Ballmer to politely express your opinion.

Please note: this is my opinion and does not necessarily reflect those of San Diego House Rabbit Society, the House Rabbit Society, its chapters and/or affiliates.
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Dear Microsoft:

I would like to comment on a video ad called “Rabbits Rule,” which features a rabbit called “Sniffs” to promote MS Office 2010.

With all due respect, I wish that Microsoft, and/or Waggener Edstrom, would consult with a rabbit-savvy organization like the House Rabbit Society before launching ads like this.

Couldn’t you have at least called rabbit lover and former Microsoft ad star, Amy Sedaris? I believe that Amy, or any person familiar with rabbits, would tell you that rabbits do not “rule” in this video. Not one bit.

As a rabbit rescuer in Southern California, I feel qualified to comment on your ad. Sniffs the rabbit is in one of the worst possible scenarios for a companion rabbit: a classroom.

“Sniffs” looks miserable in “Rabbits Rule.” The kids are holding him in a way that would be uncomfortable, or even frightening, for many rabbits. Sniffs certainly looks scared.

His cage is small, and not even close to being adequate for a rabbit of that size.

Sniffs does not seem to have any fresh hay, which is a crucial part of a rabbit’s diet.

Rabbits are a very poor choice for “classroom pets,” and it’s unfortunate that Microsoft has chosen to promote that concept.

Rabbits are crepuscular; they are most active at sunrise and sunset. During the day, they need to sleep. Being in a classroom with exuberant children is very stressful for a rabbit. Sniffs doesn’t even have a place to escape to inside of his too-small cage.

Rabbits are highly intelligent, social animals that form deep bonds with their people. A classroom does not afford a rabbit that opportunity.

During school breaks, rabbits are often shuttled around different homes, or unfamiliar situations, which can be very stressful.

Sniffs may have done a great service to Microsoft by helping you sell more software, but Microsoft has done a great disservice to companion rabbits everywhere by promoting classroom rabbits.

This video is likely to encourage more teachers to put rabbits in classrooms. As a result, more rabbits will suffer.

I suggest that you consult with the House Rabbit Society for any future advertising plans. They could provide guidance for a video that would be kind to rabbits AND meet your sales objectives.

Best regards,

Lucky Bunny Rabbit Rescue
Temecula, CA

An essay on grief

This was published in the University of North Dakota, Dakota Student by Heather Jackson. 

I could relate to aspects of her story, and thought it was worth sharing with you. ~Tamara
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In June I lost one of my best friends. He had been with me for nine and a half years. He was sweet, beautiful and caring. Perhaps, reader, you are thinking of a person. But this best friend was my rabbit, and his name was Ramone. 

Ramone came into my life when I was a pregnant 18-year-old. He came to me as a high school graduation present in May of 2001.  He was a beautiful black and white Dutch rabbit. The name “Ramone” came from the punk band, “The Ramones.” As a teenage punk rocker, of course I had to name my rabbit after an influential punk band. So, Ramone, it was. 

Black and white Dutch rabbit

 

Ramone was a part of my life when I experienced a lot of pain and change. He was with me during the last part of my teenage pregnancy, the abusive relationship I was in, and the few moves I’ve had within the states of North Dakota and Minnesota. He was always there for me. I could hold him when I felt sad and alone. It seemed as though he knew how I felt. He cuddled next to me and I would pet his soft fur, even talk to him about my day and how much I loved him. 

Companion animals become such a huge part of our lives. Sometimes humans develop closer relationships with our animals than we do with other people. The animals become a consistent and enormous aspect of our lives. We are responsible for their well-being. 

Our daily routines involve taking care of our animals. We expect our animals to be waiting for us when we get home, to greet us and show so much enthusiasm when we walk through the door.  

Although Ramone was a rabbit, most would not expect how his behaviors were. But he was happy when I got home. He would spend time with my daughter and I in the living room all evening until bedtime when he would spend the night in my room. 

Sometimes he slept on my bed and I would wake up in the middle of the night to see two cute rabbit ears at the end of my bed in the moonlight. He was liter-box trained and would beg for treats. He was a wonderful friend. 

Sadly, Ramone started getting sick in December of last year. He would go through periods of not eating, and I would get him on some meds to get his digestive track moving again. This continued off and on until May when he completely stopped eating for more days than he ever has. 

Suddenly, I started to force him baby food and critical care food, give him more medications and tried to cuddle and comfort him more than I have. There are no rabbit-savvy veterinarians in North Dakota, and even though the vet I saw at Petcetera did an awesome job, I called rabbit-savvy vets in Minnesota and contacted the House Rabbit Society. 

They were able to talk to the vet at Petcetera and give some advice. In the end, I did everything I could and was thinking of euthanizing him. He died peacefully with my partner and I at his side at 11:30p.m. on June 17. 

Grieving his death was one of the hardest things I have even done. The first few days I was extremely numb. My body ached and I couldn’t eat. I was in denial; I did not want Ramone to be dead. 

I wanted him to be alive and I wanted to hold him and tell him how much I loved him. The grieving process is still hard; I still tear up when I think about him. I still go into denial and get angry about his death. Reading books about pet loss was extremely helpful in this process. It also made me feel okay about my feelings. 

Of course, the thoughts came up about how he was “just a rabbit,” but he wasn’t. He was part of my family and I loved him very much. Nothing will ever replace that. 

Many of us on campus have companion animals or have had them in the past. Many may have experienced a companion animal’s death. In my experience, it was helpful for my grief to hear stories of other’s experiences. It has helped me process the emotions associated with grief. When people grieve, they are expected to move on too quickly. However, I think processing the emotions someone needs to have is extremely important. 

Our animals are a huge part of our lives; it is okay to grieve their deaths—we need to—so we can accept the fact that they are physically gone, but not from our hearts and minds. Solidarity to those who have lost an animal friend. 

Dr. Martinez helps rabbits find their way to Texas

By Tiffany Crawford 

Posted at The Vancouver Sun 

Dozens of rabbits from the University of Victoria campus are bound for a new home at a ranch in Texas, after they were spayed or neutered by a Steveston veterinarian in preparation for travel. 

Joseph Martinez, owner of Little Paws Animal Clinic, is one of three veterinarians permitted by the Ministry of the Environment to help with UVic’s rabbit problem by relocating them to the Wild Rose Rescue Ranch in Texas. 

Dr. Martinez with two UVic rabbits he plans to sterilize. Photo: Steve Bosch

 

Martinez said he volunteered his time to spay and neuter as many rabbits as possible so they won’t have to be killed. 

“It takes about an hour per bunny, but we are very efficient so we can do about two bunnies per hour. But I’ll work 16 hours a day to save as many as I can,” Martinez said. “Bunnies are my major interest … If we don’t try to save as many as we can, then they will probably slaughter the rest.” 

In August, the Environment Ministry approved a permit to transport and export up to 1,000 rabbits following an outcry from animal rights groups about a university plan to euthanize more than 100 rabbits. Rabbits fall under the B.C. Wildlife Act, so groups that want to adopt the animals must obtain permits. 

The permit to move the rabbits to Texas was granted to a not-for-profit group called TRACS (The Responsible Animal Care Society), which can ship up to 96 animals at a time. The group is trying to raise enough money to ship all 1,000 to the ranch. 

The rabbits travelled first to Washington on Monday night, where they were to be monitored for a few more days before the journey south. 

An Italian immigrant who has lived in Canada for 20 years, Martinez said he grew up on a farm; his family raised and ate rabbits and other farm animals. 

But he developed a passion for all creatures at a young age and by 10, he said, he decided it was wrong to eat animals. He then became a vegetarian and pursued a career in animal medicine in Israel and Italy. 

UVic’s rabbit overpopulation is thought to be the result of abandoned pets who began breeding on campus. 

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