A VETERINARY nurse will spend 48 hours in a human hutch dressed as a rabbit to raise awareness of the ‘miserable’ life of most pet bunnies.
While some may think Emma Purnell is hopping mad to take on the challenge she is determined to change the perception that rabbits are easy, low maintenance or even boring pets to look after.
The 30-year-old, who works at Stocks Veterinary Centre in Upton-upon-Severn, claimed the idea came to her after she took ownership of a rescue rabbit last summer.
Emma said at first the bunny, named Trouble, lived up to his name and behaved badly but after she introduced him to another rabbit, Bramble, his personality completely transformed.
She stressed company was very important and having a larger space for to play was essential, branding most typical hutches as ‘useless’.
Emma also claimed a lot of rabbits suffered from poor unbalanced diets due to the standard food pellets stocked by most pet stores, and recommended plenty of hay and grass.
“Rabbits are the third most common pet and most people think they are easy to get and easy to keep, but they aren’t,” she said.
“They need as much attention as a cat or dog. People think you can’t tell what a rabbit is feeling and they are a bit boring but it is not true.
“They have a whole spectrum of emotions. They love to play and find things and they are just fab creatures who can make lovely pets.
“Seeing Trouble playing in the garden with my other bunny I saw behaviours in them I had never seen before.”
Emma said a lot of owners were simply unaware of a rabbit’s needs.
She added: “It is not because people are cruel they just do not know because it is what people have always done.
“They get a rabbit, keep it in a hutch and throw the odd carrot in there and that is it. But these tiny hutches are totally unsuitable, there is no room to play and forage, so this is why I want to illustrate the miserable lives many pet rabbits live.”
Emma will take on the challenge between March 20 and 22 at Stocks Veterinary Centre, where people can visit her and pick up information on how to keep rabbits.
She is looking to raise money for Fat Fluffs and Windwhistle Warren rabbit rescue centres and people can visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/thehutchrabbit to sponsor her.