Gateway Gazette

Inadvertent Animal Cruelty a Side Effect of Easter

Special Easter pets are a part of the celebration for many families. That’s why each year doting parents and grandparents race to the pet store or farm in search of a baby chick or rabbit for the kids in their lives. Unfortunately, the joy of those Easter bundles is often short-lived.

According to the American Humane Association (AHA), the vast majority of the baby bunnies, chicks and ducklings that are given as Easter gifts may only survive the first few weeks after the holiday. For animals that do survive, the novelty of the pet can wear off pretty quickly as cute babies turn into larger, adult rabbits, chickens and ducks. Here are some facts to consider:

* The gift of a pet may be an unwelcome surprise. The recipient may not want or be permitted to have a pet.

* Ducklings, chicks and bunnies are vulnerable animals. They require special feeding, care and consistent temperature control. They’re also very fragile. During the course of play, small children often unwittingly break the animals’ fragile bones and cause other fatal injuries.

* If the novelty wears off, these animals are often released to animal control groups, where they could be euthanized. Other times, they’re simply left in the woods or other area to fend for themselves.

This Easter, carefully weigh the options of bringing a bunny or chick into the house as a special pet for children. It may be better to substitute a stuffed animal in a real one’s place.

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