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

From Tulare, CA: “Rabbit pens can be pretty smelly” (?)

This is an article that is primarily about chickens in Tulare, CA (if you don’t know where Tulare is, it is just east of Spinks Corner and south of Farmville).  

Located between Fresno and Bakersfield Tulare is in California’s Central Valley, an agricultural area that is literally the “bread basket” of California (and possibly the rest of the country).  

While rabbits may be viewed differently in agricultural communities, it is my personal opinion that articles like this perpetuate misinformation about bunnies and contribute to their overall suffering and lower status in the world of companion animals.  

Feel free to contact that author of the article to politely let him know that rabbits are not “smelly” and nothing like chickens. 

 I’ve highlighted the section of the article that addresses rabbits in red.  ~ Tamara 

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Published at the Visalia Times Delta  

By Victor Garcia • vdgarcia@visalia.gannett.com   

Tulare City Code Enforcement officials say chickens are the agency’s third-most complained about animal behind dogs and cats.   

Rabbits and chickens are not the same.

 

On average, code enforcement receives about two-to-three complaints per week regarding chickens, said Frank Furtaw, Tulare code enforcement director.  

But Furtaw said his code enforcement officers don’t go searching for chickens. Code enforcement only responds to complaints about the animals.  

“Our guys don’t go on active chicken patrol however, if a complaint comes in we definitely follow up on it,” Furtaw said.  

On Tuesday, the Tulare City Council voted unanimously to make it illegal to raise chickens within the city limits.  

Most chickens that code enforcement comes across are considered to be free roaming, meaning no one will claim ownership of them, he said.  

Rabbits are also a problem code enforcement sees around the month of Easter.  

“They’re a horrible problem,” he said. “During Easter time, people think it’s cute to get their child a pet rabbit.”  

Rabbits also aren’t allowed within the Tulare city limits, he said.  

“Rabbit pens can be pretty smelly, and they cause the same issues [as chickens],” he said.  

Other animals which code enforcement officers have responded to include an Emu, iguanas and pythons, he said.  

People who are in violation receive a written notice first and a time period to remove the problem, Furtaw said.  

“If we have zero compliance, the first citations could be $100,” he said. “To our knowledge we’ve never had to issue a citation.”  

The Valley Oak SPCA, which handles animal control for the city of Visalia said it gives people in violation notices of 10 days to get the animal relocated outside of the city limits, said Valley Oak’s Kelly Austin.  

On average, her agency receives about one complaint per week about farm animals being inside city limits, she said.

Fur flies from Talbots after complaints

From the Boston Herald
By Donna Goodison
September 9, 2010
 

Talbots Inc. has pulled fur items from its store shelves and “e-tail” site after complaints from Humane Society of the United States members about a switch in its fur-free policy. 

Talbots sells upscale women's clothing and accessories

 

The classic women’s retailer now says it’s again committed to being fur free, but the Hingham-based company failed to offer an explanation as to why it decided to sell $89 rabbit-fur collars as part of its fall collection. 

“We have heard from our customers, some of whom expressed concern about this product,” Talbots said in a statement. “We take these concerns very seriously and have decided to pull the remaining products from our selling floor. Talbots remains committed to upholding its anti-fur pledge.” 

Talbots has been on the Humane Society’s shopping guide of 300-plus fur-free retailers, brands and designers since 1999, said Andrew Page, senior director of the animal-welfare organization. 

Page called Talbots’ decision to sell the fur collars a planned change in policy. Several Humane Society members who complained to the company were read “scripted language” by customer service representatives, who said Talbots had changed its policy and would be selling real animal fur, he said. 

“With so many Americans opposed to buying or wearing animal fur, the decision to sell fur can cause many loyal customers to feel betrayed,” Page said. “We are thrilled with Talbots’ decision to remain fur-free. Clearly this was simply a misstep.” 

Talbots, which operates 580 stores, has been revamping and updating its fashion image under CEO Trudy Sullivan, who’s been tackling a company turnaround. 

Talbots said yesterday it rebounded to a quarterly profit even as sales dropped, but its results fell below analyst estimates. 

The company reported sales of $300.7 million for the fiscal second quarter, a 1.3 percent decrease. It posted net income of $941,000, compared with a $24.5 million loss last year.

New PETA investigation shows abuses to rabbits

On Wednesday, PETA released an undercover video that documents life and misery inside of a product testing lab.  

I had reservations about even posting this, but I think presenting the information enables us to make decisions about the companies and products we choose to support. I hope you agree.  

The story and the video made me sad. Then I got angry.  

I don’t doubt that the manufacturers that support this hellish lab will claim innocence.  

However, it does beg the question: why are animals even being used for some of the tests? In some cases, I believe non-animal methods are available. Is it a matter of cost? Is it cheaper to use a live animal?  

Scroll down for the undercover video. This is from PETA’s web site:  

After a nine-month undercover investigation PETA found that hundreds of dogs, cats, and rabbits were subjected to vicious and abusive handling, neglect, and miserable living conditions at Professional Laboratory and Research Services, Inc. (PLRS)—a Corapeake, North Carolina–based contract laboratory that tests animal-companion products such as flea and tick sprays and spot treatments on animals. Industry giants—including Bayer, Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Novartis, Schering-Plough (now Merck), Sergeant’s, Wellmark, and Merial, the makers of Frontline flea and tick products—are among the corporations that have paid PLRS to force-feed experimental compounds to dogs and cats and smear chemicals onto the animals’ skin.  

PETA’s investigator also documented that:
  • Rabbits at PLRS were intentionally and repeatedly forced to “wear” a tightly wrapped capsule containing thousands of ticks and were then killed.

Rabbit at PLRS subjected to thousands of ticks
  • PLRS operated a side business raising and selling ticks and attached thousands of ticks onto rabbits’ shaved bodies to allow the ticks to gorge for five days. Many rabbits were subjected to this twice and were then killed. Non-animal methods for raising ticks have been available since the mid-’90s. Other rabbits were held over thousands of mosquitoes, who fed on the animals and sucked blood from their shaved backs for 15 minutes a day for up to five days.
  • Workers cleaned the bottoms of rabbit cage floors by vigorously shaking the cages up and down—with the rabbits still inside. According to what PETA’s investigator was told, this caused at least two rabbits’ feet to be completely severed. The investigator asked her supervisor if the employee was disciplined for dismembering a rabbit and was told, “No, but don’t clock in late, then you will get in trouble.”
  • A supervisor who killed rabbits by injecting a solution into their hearts admitted, “I’m not really … good at this.”

The undercover video is not for the faint of heart. There is explicit language and sad, graphic images. Rabbits are only on the video for a short time, and it starts at the 4:27 point:  

  

Please take the time to sign a petition (at the bottom of the page).  Manufacturers need to know that it’s not OK to allow animals to be treated this way. 

Forward it to all the rabbit lovers in your life. Together, we can all make a difference.

San Francisco Postpones Ban on Pet Sales

This summer San Franciscans have been considering a city-wide ban on the selling of any animal bearing fur or feathers (that includes rabbits!). The proposal has ignited controversy in the Bay Area, with the San Francisco Commission of Animal Control and Welfare putting off a vote on the proposal until at least January 2011. In the meantime they will consider an alternate idea that would require pet owners to be licensed.

Commissioner Philip Gerrie says he doesn’t think the commission should rush the vote.

Gerrie proposed the ban in the spring. It would apply to dogs, cats and also small animals such as rabbits, hamsters, and rats.

It would need the approval of city supervisors before it could take effect.

The alternative proposal would require potential pet owners to take a class on animal care and obtain a license in order to adopt a pet.

Design Against Fur 2010

Originally published by Russell Thomas
Creative Boom London 

 

Yesterday the Humane Society International/UK and the Fur Free Alliance announced the student winners of the 2010 European and International round of the Design Against Fur poster and animation competitions.

This year the focus was on rabbits. I thought a bit about fur, and thought leopard, tiger, mink, ermine, but – and I’ve gotta be honest with you – I’ve never heard of using rabbits for fur. It makes me feel a bit sick, I mean, those little bunnies? But it was all too true.

Mark Glover, executive director, Humane Society International/UK, said, “Every year millions of rabbits are raised and killed on fur factory farms. Kept in cramped wire cages, they endure short and miserable lives to provide frivolous fashion items.” He continued, “The students have used their creative skills brilliantly to interpret the cruel reality of the fur industry and explain why it is so important to say no to real fur.”

This year’s first place winner of the poster competition is in all its glory at the top of this page.

Designed by Camille Clemmensen, Signe Andersen and Mai Mi Dahmlos Eriksen, from DMJX (Danish School of Media and Journalism), Copenhagen, Denmark – it’s sharp and simple, but subtle enough without being obscure, and that coathanger is an original touch. ‘

Second place is below, designed by Joshua Cortese from TAFE NSW – Western Sydney Institute (Nepean College), Australia. It appeals with a much more shocking, forward image; less subtle, but more forceful.

A few more of the 23 commended entries that I thought were very good: the stark and personal one from Tanya Vuksanovic, a student of Fakultet Umetnosti in Nis, Serbia; the “Run Rabbit” poster by Senna Blackstock, of Southbank Institute of Technology, Queensland, Australia; and lastly Amanda Heil’s (from Missouri State University, USA) informatively clever, rabbit-out-the-hat-themed effort.

And for the animation side of the competition:

First prizeLiu Lei, Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology, China
Second prizeEmily Brooke-Davies, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK
Third prizeRichard Jacobs, York St John University, UK

Watch those three here at inFURmation.com. On that site also you can check out the rest of the Europe and International entries, as well as those from UK & Ireland (click here for those ones), China, and Russia. There really are some seriously talented designers out there. First and second prize from Russia, for example, by Olesya Gorenko and Irinia Filushina (respectively; below) – I personally really love the simplicity utilised to full effect by both, especially the rending humanity evoked by Gorenko’s childlike offering.

So it’s all over for this year.

However…! The Design Against Fur 2011 competition will be launched on the 1st October.

Further details will be available from inFURmation.com. I know for a fact that there’s a lot (a huge amount) of design and animation talent in London, so I look forward to seeing those entries in a similar article this time next year.

Well done to the winners – maybe it’s pretty clear that people don’t want fur anymore? Perhaps manufacturers (if that’s what you’d call them) need to take a step back and realise that actually, it ain’t nice, is it?

 

Radical Rabbit Web site

Please note that BNN supports “diplomatic activism” against cruelty to rabbits (or other animals). The views and opinions expressed on Radical Rabbit do not necessarily reflect those of BNN, San Diego House Rabbit Society, or its satellite Lucky Bunny Rabbit Rescue.
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Radical Rabbit is a newly launched Web site. 

http://www.radicalrabbit.org

 

The site’s “About Us” section says: 

Radical Rabbit was formed by a group of passionate vegan bunny lovers. 

Our aim is to encourage the community to find a new understanding of a very misunderstood creature – the rabbit. 

We feel honoured to have taken on ex factory farm rabbits and are proud to show the community how affectionate and caring these rabbits can be.  We hope that this website helps people understand how many cruel, misleading and unnecessary abuses rabbits face behind closed doors. 

Radical Rabbit members do not believe that any animal should be abused for human use and we have not participated in any illegal removal of animals from private property.  Our group has only taken part in the long term care of rescued rabbits.