‘We are in a war zone,’ says woman who ordered Victoria rabbits shot

Susan Vickery of Common Ground wildlife refuge on Saltspring Islan, left, and Wendy Huntbatch of the World Parrot Refuge in Coombs, feed a rabbit at the parrot refuge in Coombs, B.C. About 240 rabbits were brought to the property this month from the University of Victoria, where the bunny population had become a serious issue. But on Sept. 28, about 30 rabbits broke out of the refuge, and several were shot by a neighbour. Photograph by: Brian Wilford, Oceanside Star

By Judith Lavoie, Postmedia News

VICTORIA, B.C. (Canada) — The woman who ordered the killing of escaped former University of Victoria bunnies says her farm is under siege by feral rabbits and she is now also coping with furious bunny lovers.

“We are in a war zone. They are very dangerous people. They chased the trapper off my field,” said Barbara Smith, who lives beside a government-approved rabbit sanctuary in the Vancouver Island community of Coombs that is taking bunnies removed from the university campus.

Smith, a retired lawyer, who has horses on the nine-hectare property, said she had no idea a rabbit sanctuary had moved on to the grounds of the neighbouring World Parrot Refuge until she returned from a trip and found at least 90 feral rabbits on her hay field.

The rabbits are an introduced pest, said Smith, who contacted a trapper who shot at least 30 animals.

“I am a farmer and these things are inherently dangerous. They are akin to rats. They are not harmless creatures, they are an actionable nuisance,” said Smith, who is incensed that the B.C. Environment Ministry would allow feral rabbits in an agricultural area.

“They have dumped UVic’s problem on us, created an environmental disaster zone and walked away,” she said.

Smith contacted Wendy Huntbatch at the World Parrot Refuge Tuesday afternoon, but the trapper started shooting about two hours later, before rabbit-rescuer Susan Vickery had a chance to catch the escapees.

Smith said the rabbits had been out since the weekend, so there had been plenty of time to catch them. “She’s responsible for containing those rabbits.”

All the rabbits killed had been tattooed and sterilized after moving from the UVic campus. The death toll included some of Vickery’s pets.

On Thursday evening, Smith said she could see about two dozen rabbits in her field and another four dozen in a neighbouring field, but she has no intention of allowing Vickery on her property to catch them.

“I will deal with the rabbits on my land in whatever way I have to,” she said.

That has Vickery in a quandary as she fears the survivors will meet the same fate as the dead ones. She also worries that injured rabbits could be lying in the field.

“This was just so unnecessary. This was just someone being angry,” she said.

Vickery said it is possible some rabbits escaped a couple of days earlier, but she does not believe 90 hopped away.

“Anyway, why didn’t they contact me?” she asked. “I find their behaviour completely unacceptable.”

RCMP and ministry officials have been on site. But the officials say that as the feral rabbits are wildlife, they can be legally captured and killed, provided a firearm is not used in the vicinity of a home and the animals are killed humanely.

Penny Stone, B.C. SPCA Victoria branch manager, said shooting rabbits is considered humane, but she is saddened the property owners did not give sufficient time for the rabbits to be recaptured.

“I would have hoped people would have had a little more patience, especially knowing what these rabbits have already been through,” she said.

Meanwhile, Smith said she is receiving threats from people angry about the rabbit killings. “It is just a horror show,” she said.

Huntbatch said she delivered a bale of hay to the gate outside Smith’s home Thursday morning.

“I put a note on it saying, ‘We paid for this with our lives’ and I signed it from the murdered bunnies,” she said.

University officials in Victoria have been trying to clear the campus of about 1,400 of the estimated 2,000 abandoned former pets and their offspring.

About 400 rabbits have been captured so far and are heading for sanctuaries as far away as Texas.

The sterilization/relocation program followed an outcry from rabbit enthusiasts when the university was considering culling the bunnies.

Victoria Times Colonist

Weekend Cocktail: Applejack Rabbit

The Applejack Rabbit cocktail. Photo: Gourmet magazine


It’s almost Friday. 

For those of you who like to imbibe, here’s an interesting “new” cocktail recipe. 

The Applejack Rabbit was featured in the December 1965 issue of Gourmet magazine. 

Its mixture of apple brandy and maple syrup is sure to taste like autumn in a cocktail glass! 

Applejack Rabbit
2 oz. apple brandy
Juice of one half lemon
1 tbsp. maple syrup

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker half filled with cracked ice.  

Shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled cocktail glass.  


Reprinted from hiphipgingin.com

Vetoed: Insurance regulation for Thumper and KittyKitty

Courtesy of CaliforniaWatch.org by Christina Jewett

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office released a long list of signed and vetoed bills Friday, and among the losers was a measure to regulate health insurance for pets.

As I wrote in August, the bill would have required pet health insurers to tell consumers about co-pay amounts, lifetime benefit limits and restrictions based on pre-existing conditions.

The bill’s author, Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, said he wrote the law because pet health care prices were soaring and constituents were complaining about pets being denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Jones, an owner of two cats, enjoyed the support of the Humane Society of the United States and a pet-oriented political action committee, PAWpac.

It wasn’t enough, though, to overcome the objections of Gov. Arnold Schwarznegger. Here’s his veto message [PDF]:

This bill would provide for the regulation of pet insurance by the Department of Insurance and require various disclosures from pet insurers. Existing law provides for the regulation of various types of insurance, by the Department of Insurance, including pet insurance, if there is a demonstrated need. As such, this bill is not necessary.

Jones may still have the last word in securing better coverage for cats and dogs, though, if his run for Insurance Commissioner is successful.

What do you think about Pet Health Insurance? Take our poll and let us know.

“Rabbit Rabbit White Rabbit” For Good Luck?

A luck-bringing custom found all over Great Britain is to say ‘Rabbits’ or ‘White Rabbits’ once or three times on the first day of the month.

Origins and history
The exact origin of the superstition is unknown, though it has appeared in print at least as early as 1922: If you say ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit’–three times, just like that–first thing in the morning on the first of the month, even before you say your prayers, you’ll get a present before the end of the month.’

However, some reports place its origins even earlier, into the 1800s.

Today it has spread to most of the English-speaking countries of the world, although like all folklore, determining its exact area of distribution is difficult.

This superstition is related to the broader belief in the rabbit or hare being a “lucky” animal, as exhibited in the practice of carrying a rabbit’s foot for luck. Some have also believed it is representing a jumping into the future and moving ahead with life and happiness.

Most of us can use a little more luck….and maybe even a present or two.

I’ll be saying, “Rabbit Rabbit White Rabbit” tomorrow morning. Will you?

San Diego Veg Week Oct 2-9

Many  San Diego HRS supporters are vegetarian and vegan. It’s hard not to be when you live with a rabbit! How many of us have been asked at the supermarket checkout, “How are you going to cook this?”

Did you know that October 2-9, 2010 in San Diego it’s Pledge to Go Veg Week? If you pledge to go veg for just one week, you can prevent animal cruelty, improve your health, and protect the environment.

When you make your pledge, Veg Week will e-mail you recipes, nutritional advice, and coupons you can use all over San Diego. Dozens of restaurants are offering specials, and you’re entered to win gift certificates and cookbooks for local vegetarian-friendly restaurants.

Mayor Sanders as well as Councilman Todd Gloria, Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, and Assemblyman Pedro Nava are taking the pledge and participating in some of the Veg Week activities.

Learn more at http://www.sdvegweek.com/

and at