Veterinarian Piotr Jaworski recently discovered a cruel practice for Easter during a walk through an animal market in the United Arab Emirates. He was shocked to find neon-colored rabbits who had been colored using toxic dye.
Although in many states throughout the U.S. it is illegal to dye animals, and some even ban the sale of rabbits from March through April to avoid impulse purchases for Easter, there are still merchants that capitalize on the Easter Bunny.
“It is absolutely unacceptable,” Jaworski told Abu Dhabi newspaper The National, calling the practice a “cruel gimmick.” “In my opinion the process and existence of this dye on their bodies is detrimental to their health.”
The Middle East Animal Foundation shared the photos of the colored rabbits to highlight the cruel practice passed off as holiday fun.
Sadly, rabbits are not the only animals exploited during Easter. In America, thousands of baby chicks as well as rabbits are purchased as Easter gifts only to be abandoned after their novelty wears off and the responsibility for caring for them takes over.
Chicks are also sometimes dyed by injecting their eggs with food coloring a few days before they hatch. The food coloring doesn’t actually hurt the chicks, but many of the chicks end up being dumped when their colored baby feathers give way to their regular adult ones.
“Humane societies are overflowing with these animals after Easter every year,” Don Anthony of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida told The New York Times.
Thankfully, the practice is increasingly under scrutiny and around half the states do not allow animal dyeing and bigger cities like New York and Los Angeles don’t allow rabbits to be sold in pet stores.
For novelties like this to go away, it comes down to people being educated and to respect the life of an animal.
Let’s hope more parents recognize that buying a pet as a novelty item is not a good lesson to children about the true responsibilities of pet ownership.
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