In the midst of the commotion over the new APHIS proposal, I have one major thing to say to rabbit breeders, and all animal breeders:
Don’t stop raising rabbits. Don’t do it! We can’t back down. I know that laws are sketchy and hard to understand. I know that cases like Debe Bell are frightening and threatening. But we must not stop till they make us.
Here’s what I honestly think: there are so many rules now, so many loopholes, so many gray areas in the wording of things, and so many Animal Rights groups influencing local Animal Control officials, that if someone really wants to take issue with ANY animal breeding operation, they can and will. This recent proposal doesn’t make it any more or any less likely. There are hundreds of thousands, probably millions, of animal breeders out there. The chance that they will target a small scale rabbit breeder like you and me is microscopic. (Note – I am not, not saying that it will not happen. I don’t think we should ever just “rest assured” that the government won’t enforce the laws!)
However, animal rights activists WILL succeed in knocking out dozens of small breeders using their one big weapon: fear. They target a big breeder, make a scene, and knock out lots of small ones who are afraid of the same thing happening to them. There are already too many regulations to enforce, yet by constantly revising old ones and making new ones, they keep breeders concerned with them. It’s a scare tactic. It’s terrorism. We can’t let that succeed. Can’t, can’t, can’t.
Animal breeders can’t quit, and can’t go hide in closets. We need to be active and out in the open to keep the public properly informed, and prevent brainwashing by animal rights groups as much as possible. See how the cycle works? ARA’s make an example of one breeder, and dozens of others quit because of fear. Breeders who don’t quit often lay low, wanting to escape detection. They hide their rabbitries; they stop promoting rabbits to the public; they take down their websites. Fewer and fewer people learn about the enormous benefits that raising livestock offers. That means fewer and fewer people will be on our side. While I totally sympathize with wanting to protect ourselves by laying low, in the long term, it’s shooting ourselves in the foot.
We are doing a good thing.
It’s important to raise rabbits. We need to provide for and protect our families by being self-sufficient. Raising rabbits is a way to keep the government OUT of our business — so we don’t need to depend on it for necessities. We’ve got to live like we have constitutional rights if we expect to keep them. We can’t let people take them away from us through terrorism if not through actual laws. We have to do what’s right and trust God with the results.
It troubles me so much that America has gotten to this point. I stay in touch with a community in central Africa that is trying hard to start up a rabbit project. It’s so cool how they all work together, and the difficulties they face with poor equipment, thieves, etc. The birth of every kit matters so much. Here we’ve become so spoiled that some Americans think we can afford not to breed or own animals.
What we should not do:
Stop raising rabbits
Take down our websites
Stop educating the public about the value of rabbits as livestock
Live in fear
What we should do:
Keep the websites up! Keep promoting rabbits at fairs, community events, youth clubs, etc. Keep informing the public of the tremendous benefits of rabbit meat, and how raising rabbits for show can bind families together, and about how bunnies can make such fun companions.
Abide by the laws. I highly recommend keeping accurate records and following the new ARBA minimum care standards.
Keep fighting. We as Americans live in a democracy, remember? Government for the people by the people. Resist big government.
And take heart.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” –Jesus in John 16:33