While we were busy celebrating everything rabbit last weekend at our third Annual Sonoma County Bunfest – a great day by the way, with over 500 guests visiting and learning about these adorable creatures – there was a big bunny fight in our state legislation to keep rabbits included in the newly proposed fur ban. The bill, AB44, introduced by Assembly Member Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) and sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Animal Hope in Legislation and Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation would make it unlawful to manufacture, sell, offer for sale, display for sale, trade, give, donate or otherwise distribute a fur product in California. According to Friedman, “There is no need for fur in the 21st century and no place for it in a sustainable future.” All fur products – including rabbit fur.
Then an amendment raised by a Northern California Assemblyman to exclude rabbit fur from the statewide fur ban was introduced which has the potential to contradict the spirit and intention of the bill. “Agribusinesses are lobbying for the right to continue to sell rabbit fur for the luxury fur market, claiming that since they are already killing domesticated bunnies for meat, they might as well sell the pelts,” says Marcy Berman, Founder and Executive Director of SaveABunny Inc. “Rabbit meat is not very popular, as proven by a failed 4-year pilot program by Whole Foods Market. If rabbit fur is the only kind of fur allowed in California, it creates a lucrative corner on the fur market that will increase the number of domesticated bunnies who are raised and killed specifically for their fur.”
The amendment was not picked up in the first committee but it has several more hearings to go before reaching the governor’s desk and the rabbit farmers are putting pressure on legislators to include the amendment citing dire economic consequences if they are not allowed to sell the fur of the rabbits they raise. It will next be heard in the appropriations committee so we need to express our support of keeping the bill intact and not allowing an amendment that would exclude rabbits. You can go to apro.assembly.ca.gov/membersstaff to get a list of committee members and their contact information. Be sure to also let your Assembly Member (locally that’s Cecilia Aguiar-Curry) and Senator (Bill Dodd) know that you want them to support the bill as originally written and to resist pressure to exclude any animal. Follow the bill’s progress yourself to keep up with who needs to be contacted next or just follow the Rabbit Advocacy Network on Facebook for updates.
California is once again leading the way to a kinder world where all animals are valued and treated humanely. I don’t know about you, but I’m proud to say I live here! All of you who love rabbits, these wonderful, loving, playful pets, please help keep their fur on them, not on people!
“Get Them Back Home” Campaign – Every lost pet should have a way to get back home. FREE pet ID tag and a back-up microchip are available to all residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati. No appointment necessary, just come by the shelter during our regular open hours: Wed. 1-6:30; Thurs.-Fri.-Sat. 1-5:30; Sun. 1-4:30.
Fix-it Clinics – Free spay and neuters for cats; and $60 dog surgeries (up to 80 lbs.) for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents. Call 588-3531 for an appointment.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.