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A survey of rabbit handling methods within the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland

A survey of rabbit handling methods within the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland
A survey of rabbit handling methods within the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland

Rabbits are commonly kept in a variety of settings, including homes, laboratories, and veterinary clinics. Despite the popularity of keeping this prey species, little research has investigated current methods of handling. The aim of this study was to examine the experience of caregivers (owners and keepers) in using five handling methods commonly referred to in books written for companion animal (pet) owners and veterinary and/or laboratory personnel. An online survey was completed by 2644 respondents, representing all three of these groups, and breeders. Data were acquired to determine sources that participants used to gain knowledge of different handling methods, the methods they used and for what purposes they used them, and their perceptions of any associated difficulties or welfare concerns. Results indicated that participants most frequently used the method of supporting a rabbit’s body against a person’s chest, which was considered the easiest and most welfare-friendly method of the handling methods explored. “Scruffing with rear support” was the least used method and was considered to be distressing and painful for the rabbit. As rabbits are a terrestrial prey species, being picked up is likely an innately stressful experience. Additional research is encouraged to explore the experience of rabbits during handling to identify methods that can be easily used with the fewest welfare compromises.

Animal welfare, handling, human–animal interactions, laboratory, pets, rabbit, veterinary
1088-8705
1-12
Oxley, James Andrew
ab0d0c96-2aa1-4e1b-a47a-4f613e11ac73
Ellis, Clare Frances
ab68ec26-b85a-46d3-8394-6bd766a85c8c
McBride, E. Anne
8f13b829-a141-4b67-b2d7-08f839972646
McCormick, Wanda Denise
e24686d5-8908-4f36-8018-e477cc802991
Oxley, James Andrew
ab0d0c96-2aa1-4e1b-a47a-4f613e11ac73
Ellis, Clare Frances
ab68ec26-b85a-46d3-8394-6bd766a85c8c
McBride, E. Anne
8f13b829-a141-4b67-b2d7-08f839972646
McCormick, Wanda Denise
e24686d5-8908-4f36-8018-e477cc802991

Oxley, James Andrew, Ellis, Clare Frances, McBride, E. Anne and McCormick, Wanda Denise (2018) A survey of rabbit handling methods within the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1-12. (doi:10.1080/10888705.2018.1459192).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Rabbits are commonly kept in a variety of settings, including homes, laboratories, and veterinary clinics. Despite the popularity of keeping this prey species, little research has investigated current methods of handling. The aim of this study was to examine the experience of caregivers (owners and keepers) in using five handling methods commonly referred to in books written for companion animal (pet) owners and veterinary and/or laboratory personnel. An online survey was completed by 2644 respondents, representing all three of these groups, and breeders. Data were acquired to determine sources that participants used to gain knowledge of different handling methods, the methods they used and for what purposes they used them, and their perceptions of any associated difficulties or welfare concerns. Results indicated that participants most frequently used the method of supporting a rabbit’s body against a person’s chest, which was considered the easiest and most welfare-friendly method of the handling methods explored. “Scruffing with rear support” was the least used method and was considered to be distressing and painful for the rabbit. As rabbits are a terrestrial prey species, being picked up is likely an innately stressful experience. Additional research is encouraged to explore the experience of rabbits during handling to identify methods that can be easily used with the fewest welfare compromises.

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Pre pub accepted JAAWS Rabbit handling 200318
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A Survey of Rabbit Handling Methods Within the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland - Version of Record
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 20 March 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 25 April 2018
Keywords: Animal welfare, handling, human–animal interactions, laboratory, pets, rabbit, veterinary

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 420577
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/420577
ISSN: 1088-8705
PURE UUID: f834f4ff-14c6-4f12-8b7a-9a7b0e9bb5a7

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 10 May 2018 16:30
Last modified: 20 Jul 2019 04:21

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Contributors

Author: James Andrew Oxley
Author: Clare Frances Ellis
Author: E. Anne McBride
Author: Wanda Denise McCormick

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