Brenda & Jacqui
17th April 2012
Meet Brenda, a young and vibrant New Zealand White rabbit. Brenda and her sister Jacqui were born into this world as meat rabbits, kept within an intensive farming facility in Southern Tasmania. Destined for slaughter at just 10-12 weeks of age, ‘kindness’ was a concept that looked certain to pass this adorable twosome by.
Confined within a tiny wire cage, suspended over a concrete floor, Brenda’s world was far removed from that which she desired. So unnatural is it for a rabbit to remain standing on a harsh wire surface that Brenda’s feet bore the evidence of the unimaginable pain this caused her. Too uncomfortable to stand or to sleep, Brenda lived each day on edge, unable to find any relief within her environment. Many of Brenda’s companions showed physical signs of their discomfort; abscesses and infections being commonplace and remaining untreated. Eye and respiratory problems were also widespread within the rabbit ‘factory’ due to the build-up of faeces and the resulting ammonia.
Brenda’s severe confinement not only lowered her immunity and compromised her physical wellbeing but it also lead to psychological stress. The denial of her most basic instincts such as burrowing, mutual grooming and exploring her world led Brenda to become bored and frustrated within her tiny prison.
Facilities such as the factory farming system in which Brenda resided were prohibited throughout Australia until 1987 and are still outlawed in both the Northern Territory and Queensland. The intensive farming of rabbits for meat is an industry that often remains unseen and unheard of within the general public. Unfortunately for Brenda and her bunny brethren, this also means the truth about the industry often remains unspoken and there is rarely a light at the end of their incredibly dark and bleak tunnel of life.
So abysmal were the conditions in which Brenda was kept, that the rabbit farm was closed down. And so, for the first time in her sad and painful life, Brenda, experienced the power of kindness.
Proving rabbits can have wings; Brenda and Jacqui were flown to Victoria to begin a life of luxury at a beautiful and peaceful animal sanctuary, Edgar’s Mission.
With not a cage in sight, Brenda now proudly explores her new forever home; a bunny’s paradise. Instead of cold and harsh wire, the warm soft earth now caresses her feet, which scratch and dig until her heart is content. Her diet is no longer the result of a carefully calculated feed to weight conversion ratio but is now made up of a variety of the freshest fruits and vegetables, all carefully selected and distributed so that each meal becomes a treasure-hunting taste sensation. Other rabbits no longer exist in neighbouring cages completely out of reach; friends are now close by for mutual grooming and for basking in the sun with. Brenda and her buddies have established an intricate warren system beneath their home, freely following instincts and intelligence once so frustrated by their confinement.
It is fair to say that life for Brenda now is far greater than she or many rabbits could ever dream of. Certainly there are over 120,000 of Brenda’s own kind on 80-100 farms who will never be touched by kindness in the way she has been. Or will they? The choice is yours.