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Live rabbits sold with bread - report

Robben Island rabbit. Picture John Yeld

Robben Island rabbit. Picture John Yeld

Published Feb 16, 2012

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The SPCA is to investigate a scheme in which live rabbits would be sold with loaves of bread for consumption to people living in townships.

This after a packaging company tipped off the anti-animal cruelty organisation following the most “bizarre” quote they had received.

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The quote enquiry, sent via e-mail by Liz Jones, a production manager at Inspiration Advertising, requested a minimum of 10 000 boxes which would house a live rabbit each and a loaf of bread to be sold in townships. The e-mail read: “The recipient will slaughter the rabbit and eat it with the loaf of bread. The box will need air holes to enable the rabbit to breathe.”

It said the box should have a handle – “the cheapest would probably be to punch handles into the cardboard”. The material must be “some sort of fluted board – price sensitive flute – but strong enough to hold the rabbit and bread”.

The box would need a divider to separate the rabbit and bread.

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“The base of the box will need to be lined with something that can ‘catch’ the faeces/urine and then wrap around the left overs after slaughtering and be thrown away.”

The Cape Times contacted the sender of the e-mail, Jones, who denied it was a hoax.

“I’m not involved with the rabbits. I’m only quoting the boxes for a client. I want to speak to the concerned person at the SPCA. There is no need to be concerned, there won’t be any cruelty to animals,” she said.

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She refused to give any information about where the rabbits would come from or who her client was.

SPCA chief executive Allan Perrins said they would do everything in their power to ensure that the scheme doesn’t go through.

“The concept leaves me cold and disgusted,” he said. “It is unlawful to confine any animal in any space for any length of time without the animal having adequate ventilation, access to fresh drinking water, an adequate supply of appropriate food and the ability to behave naturally and instinctively. Placing a live rabbit in a sealed box in our opinion would be in contravention of the Animals Protection Act. We would consider such a deed to be a deliberate act of cruelty and totally immoral and inhumane.”

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He said they hoped that members of the public would not support such a “cruel practice” and commended the packaging manufacturers for alerting the SPCA. - Cape Times

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