Improving the lives of farmed rabbits

Here's more on what we're doing to help improve the lives of farmed rabbits in the UK.

group of farmed rabbits with space to move  © Shirley Seaman/RSPCA
Calling for improvements to farmed rabbit welfare

We'd like to see all farmed rabbits reared in higher welfare systems that provide enough space and the right types of facilities to allow them to exercise and behave normally. Some of the main improvements we are asking for include:

  • More space to carry out normal movements and exercise, such as sequences of hopping steps.
  • A structured environment with areas for resting, feeding and exercise, including refuge areas for withdrawal/escape and raised platforms to provide 'look out' points and the opportunity for jumping exercise.
  • Vertical space to rear on their hind legs, with their ears fully erect.
  • Comfortable solid flooring, with suitable clean bedding material such as straw or shredded paper to allow them to dig.
  • An enriched diet including hay and edible gnawing objects such as wooden sticks or blocks.
  • A well-ventilated, hygienic environment, kept at a comfortable temperature.      
  • Lighting that allows rabbits to behave normally with appropriate periods of light and dark.
  • Social contact - female and young rabbits housed in harmonious social groups.
  • Only competent, trained staff allowed to care for/handle rabbits.

We'd like stronger laws to protect farmed rabbits, and more research and investment into the development of enriched group pen systems that properly cater for their needs.

Engaging with governments and retailers

We take every opportunity to raise our concerns about farmed rabbit welfare with governments, retailers and other key organisations, highlighting the need for the above improvements to be made.

Providing guidance on keeping pet rabbits

We've also produced guidance on improving the welfare of pet rabbits. Many of our recommendations for improving the lives of rabbits kept as pets also apply to farmed rabbits.

If you're interested in farmed rabbits and concerned about their welfare, you may like to know more about how you can help

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