Northampton researchers launch big bunny study to find out if rabbits are Britain’s most unloved pet

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Researchers at Moulton College and the University of Northampton are looking into why people abandon their pets.

Rabbits are one of Britain’s top five most popular pets, yet recent research by the PDSA has shown that they are often not kept in appropriate conditions, and hundreds of rescue centres all over Britain take in thousands of unwanted pet rabbits each year.

New research being carried out by researchers at Moulton College and the University of Northampton is investigating how big Britain’s bunny problem is, by launching an online study to find out why people give up their pets – particularly rabbits.

Clare Ellis is a Moulton College lecturer who is studying towards a PhD investigating personality and temperament testing in rabbits with the University of Northampton.

Clare said: “Having worked in a rescue centre in Lancashire previously, I have seen first-hand just how many pets are given up by their owners each year.

“This project is a fantastic opportunity to be able to explore this topic further through my research at Moulton College, and will hopefully benefit rabbits and their owners in the long term by helping us understand why rabbits are given up as pets.”

The researchers have been visiting animal rescue centres including Camp Nibble in Leeds, where a dedicated team take in rabbits that have either been given up by owners, neglected or abandoned. Last year Camp Nibble took in 153 rabbits. Hannah Potts, founder of Camp Nibble, said: “Rabbits are widely misunderstood animals and are very often mistakenly taken on as cheap, easy pets. In many cases the responsibility for their care is even left in the hands of children.”

Rescue centres only show one side of the story, so the Northampton researchers are encouraging members of the public to complete a simple questionnaire so they can better understand the reasons why people make the difficult decision to give up their pets. Anyone that currently owns, or has previously owned any pet can take part.

To complete the survey, click here SURVEY

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