I saw a comment this afternoon that outright made me angry. I’ve seen the last month or so three rabbitries in three different states targeted, one resulting in the removal of champion show rabbits. A video taken in May of this year shows the rabbits involved. Now if you have 120 rabbits and even ten of those have litters of 8 each you’re at or over 200 rabbits. That’s bad enough. But it’s more than that.

There is power in voices, and too many are forgetting that. Over the last several years I have worked towards building bridges with those in agriculture. The similarities between ag and rabbit breeders are many including being targeted by the same groups and in many cases for the same reasons!

The criticism of agriculture can apply to rabbits – and guess what rabbit folks we need ag. You might dislike Monsanto, Tyson, Cargill etc – but you better suck it up, put the adult panties on and learn to get along because we as rabbit raisers are but a little toe in agriculture – it can be amputated if an infection threatens but is much more effective to support the foot and the body. As far as HSUS is concerned raising rabbits for meat IS factory farming. Be it for fur or meat they’re educating people that raising rabbits is factory farming, bunny mills and, more recently in the media, hoarding.There are comparisons that raising rabbit in cages is the same as battery hens.

There are many rabbit breeders getting more vocal in social media but when we have organizations with hundreds of millions of dollars we are not going to outspend them. We can use our connections but if it comes to it they can buy a bigger audience! With agriculture and millions of dollars Prop 2 was still passed in California…now all that needs to be done is draw that comparison there for California breeders.

Agriculture has a lot of people who can help us far more than we can help them – but if there are many people saying how they’re evil factory farms and big ag and horrible people wanting to put us out of business why would they?!

The FACT is yes there are people who work for major ag business companies who also shop at farmer’s markets. I know some.

The FACT is many don’t have a  problem with all sizes of ag/farms – don’t make it a problem! Rabbit meat is not going to take the place of beef in the American diet – we can have the luxury of choosing what type of rabbit to raise and what size herd to raise. We can have a dozen or 100 or raise for PelFreeze (also seen as “big ag” I suppose).

The FACT is we have a whole industry of allies out there unless rabbit keepers themselves keep those walls up then complain no one supports it. No one supports toxic attacks….and there is no reason for other industries to do so even if it’s joining against a common threat.

The FACT is we need every alliance we can have. Rabbits can be pets, meat, ag, fur, medical and a host of other things. That means zoning, ag laws and a wide range of issues affect us – and that means we need to gather every person to our side we can, from neighbors to vote with us in zoning issues to farm bureaus and other groups.

The fact is – it’s an easy choice. Do you want rabbits? No? Then blast away and none of us will have them as we do today. Yes? Then zip the attitudes, labels and judgments and let’s work together with every person we can to help ALL of our interests.

Admittedly when it’s personal and a perceived slight of friends I take this more personally. My friend Mark had a comment lodged at him by a fellow rabbit breeder that infuriated me. The attitude was that he just didn’t see the big picture. Here’s the thing – the rabbit breeder didn’t see the big picture! The fact is Mark works with what she attacked as “big ag” – larger farms of all sizes. He works with a website, is a fan of a meal of rabbit (as are many ag folks!) and has family who survived tough times because of rabbits. He also sees the attacks of groups against agriculture and has had some threats himself. He also has a degree in meat science and is a member of the agriculture media. So, both as my friend and not – this is EXACTLY the kind of people we desperately need on our side when there are raids. This is the kind of allies we need to insure that we get to keep raising rabbits because guess what folks – if it goes the way of battery hens they’re not going to miss rabbits…WE WILL.

I implore every breeder out there look long and hard at your attitude and DO NOT make enemies!! You assume and you will insure that we stand alone – and that is something we will not survive. It may take 10 years, 20 years 30 years but it will happen. Just like dog breeders are “evil” so are rabbit breeders. Look hard in the mirror before using labels.

Our ability to keep rabbits depends on it. Agriculture has and is embracing us – do not bite their hands for doing so! You don’t have to like Tysons but you darn sure better respect the family farms growing for them because we’re facing the same issues in many ways.