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Animal rights campaigners film 'shocking' conditions at rabbit farms

Monday 19 December 2011

Politicians and animal welfare campaigners have reacted with shock to film recorded secretly at eight of the Netherlands' rabbit farms, where animals are bred for consumption.

The recordings, made by a group calling itself Ongehoord (unheard), shows rabbits with missing ears and other injuries living in cramped cages with wire floors. In some sequences dead animals are in the same space as the living.

Animal health professor Frank van Eerdenburg told the AD that 'sick animals should not be with healthy ones.'


The organisation also filmed the rabbit cages owned by Sjef Lavrijsen, who chairs the rabbit farmer association.

'It is really awful. No-one wants to see this,' he told the paper. 'No farmer wants dead or sick animals.' Lavrijsen said his farm meets new standards on rabbit welfare introduced by the government this year.

By 2016, all 91 rabbit farms will have to meet new requirements, including plastic matting on the floor and giving rabbits something to gnaw on, the AD said.

© DutchNews.nl

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Readers' comments (9)

Sickening! These farms should be shut down immediately and Sjef Lavrijsen should be removed from his position and tried for cruelty to animals. Anyone thinking of eating konijn this Christmas should show their protest by choosing something else. And why give rabbit farmers FOUR years to carry out basic improvements for these animals' short lives?

By Andrew | December 19, 2011 4:53 PM

they also should check out the chicken farms. most are OK, but there are some that need looking into

By Dave Ausma | December 19, 2011 6:05 PM

Where are the animal police? I thought they could act quickly as for Sjef Lavrijsen I agree he should be removed from his position and should be set an example of! - shame on him.

By jenny | December 19, 2011 8:42 PM

Absolutely disgraceful and sickening - 2016, four years to meet the "new requirements"? What about the thousands of rabbits suffering in these disgraceful and inhumane conditions in the interim? Shame on Sjef Lavrijsen, I agree with the other poster: remove Sjef from his position and try him for cruelty to animals!

By Molten Princess | December 19, 2011 11:57 PM

as if the life of any animal on a farm is life....either you care about them all or you dont care at all...and if its the latter then just keep going...yes rabbits make nice pets and chicken are just poultry .....stop abusing all animals on all "farms"

By allan lieberman | December 20, 2011 2:33 AM

With the exception of 2 sick rabbits they kept showing over and over again much of what was shown was normal for a large breeding operation. With a herd this large it is not unusual to see a few sick animals. Bare patch of skin on the does neck, ataxic movement of kits newly out of the nest and half cannabalized kits are all typical things we rabbit breeders see often and are not unusual or signs of abuse but have biological explanations. Maybe your news organization needs to visit a rabbit farm with an informed agriculture specialist to get the real facts. Agriculture is not sterile or like a Disney movie.

By M Cramer | December 20, 2011 4:03 AM

Yeah how horribly sad :( I don't eat knonijn but my cats do. However I purchase it from somewhere that provides food for zoo animals and it is not meant for human consumption. That probably makes no difference in the conditions of the rabbit though.... Think I'll hold off on the rabbit for a while, though the cats seem to love it.

By Stupid | December 20, 2011 7:56 AM

Yet another example of animal abuse. How come one correspondent says it shows the same animal(s) again and again? Doubt it - and if large breeding operations cannot do better than this they should be closed down.

By Rosemary Marshall | December 20, 2011 1:23 PM

The trouble is that there is also a somewhat increased demand for rabbit fur in retail fashion. As long as this demand continues, so will these appalling conditions. Find out more at www.change.org/petitions/bcbg-max-azria-group-stop-slaughtering-rabbits.

By GDiFonzo | January 5, 2012 12:51 AM

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