PETS IN SCHOOLS
Recently, we have received a few inquiries from teachers and principals of child care centers to adopt our rabbits for their students. While we understand the intention to educate their young students about pets, is this truly the right way to educate responsible pet ownership? Here’s a few things for our educators to consider before thinking it’s all fun for their children to play with these delicate animals.
1. ARE YOU RABBIT-SAVVY?
We hope that our educators themselves are experienced rabbit owners before they even consider teaching their children about rabbits. A rabbit-savvy person will know that rabbits are prey animals who are afraid to be captured and much rather spend their time burrowing in dark corners where no one can sees them. So for a timid rabbit to be exposed to so many young children every day, is this truly a conducive environment for these animals?
2. HAVE YOU CONSIDER ALLERGIES?
Many young children are still developing their immunity and can develop allergies towards some breeds of rabbits. Some allergies can be triggered by touch while others many be triggered by the fur floating in the air. Even the hay that the rabbits eat are known to cause severe allergies in both children and adults. So for you to introduce this cute little furball to your classroom, have you ensure all your children are properly examined for allergies?
3. AND WHAT ABOUT RINGWORMS (AND OTHER INFECTIOUS DISEASES)?
While rabbits may be cute and fun for children to play with, they can catch disease from the surroundings and pass it on to these children. Ringworms is a common fungal skin infection that can spread around. With all the HFM virus that is spreading all over schools in Singapore, we would think adding more infectious diseases to further compromise our children’s health will be the last thing you want to do.
4. DO YOU OPERATE 24/7?
Rabbits can be rather high maintenance animals that requires feeding twice a day, 7 days a week. When they are sick, this can increased up to every 3-4 hours when they need medicine and aided feeding. Are there adequate care in a school to provide this continuous support for the animal? Also, most rabbit owners will realize that rabbits are high tolerance animals who don’t display signs of sickness until it is truly severe. Hence, only a dedicated owner can pick up early signs and that’s what it takes to keep our rabbit living strong and healthy.
5. YOU SURE THERE IS NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE?
We strongly believe that inculcating the values of compassion and kindness towards animals should be part of the society’s responsibility. With groups like AVA and SPCA who conducts regular talks about animal care and welfare groups like us who offer show-and-tell in schools, is the only way to learn about rabbits in childcare centers? We hope educators will proactively seek these groups for guidance to help invoke their students’ hidden passion and work with us to improve animal welfare in Singapore.
Unfortunately, we have received too many complaints from people who work in childcare centers as well as parents of these children who wants these rabbits out of their compounds. We end up getting dumped with rabbits who suffered from negligence and mental abuse. It is both heartbreaking and disappointing for us to see our children’s educators being so ill-prepared and irresponsible. So we hope that if you do run a childcare center, do think carefully about having a school pet. Based on our many bad experiences, the BW Team takes a strong stand against this decision.