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Welfare issues of farmed rabbits

We have significant concerns about the welfare of farmed rabbits. Unfortunately, the use of cages to rear farmed rabbits is legally permitted. This situation is made worse by the fact that in the past, rabbit farming has occasionally been advertised as a quick way of making money using spare buildings, equipment and labour. Inexperienced, untrained people aren't in a good position to look after the health and welfare of large numbers of animals. Here's more on why we're worried about farmed rabbit welfare.

Farmed rabbit cages

Typical cage systems don't provide enough space for farmed rabbits to properly exercise and move. They need to be able to hop, jump, run and rear up on their hind legs with their ears erect.

Wire cage floors can also cause discomfort and foot injuries. These factors can further lead to skeletal spine and leg disorders in older rabbits used for breeding.

Caged farmed rabbits also don't have the space and facilities needed to express important natural behaviours, including:

  • Normal social interactions with other rabbits (play, grooming, etc.)
  • Digging
  • Hiding
  • Gnawing on hard, edible objects
  • Normal mothering behaviour, such as covering the nest and moving away from the pups.

We would like cages to be phased out, and all farmed rabbits to instead be reared in enriched, higher welfare systems that are more comfortable, allow them to carry out their natural behaviours, and ensure a good quality of life.

Farmed rabbit pups in a nest box inside a cage system © RSPCA


The pellet-only diet that many farmed rabbits are fed:

  • Doesn't allow normal foraging behaviour
  • Doesn't promote good digestive health
  • Doesn't keep their teeth in good condition.

Find out how you can help improve the lives of farmed rabbits.

Find out more