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Rabbits mistreated at fur and meat company, according to report.

Image: Pixabay

TW: animal cruelty

A leading meat and fur company has been reportedly selling rabbit products, including at four sites in Lincolnshire, Leicestershire [omitted comma] and Derbyshire. These include cushions, body warmers and handbags made from rabbit fur, sold at a price up to £600. Meanwhile, a rabbit carcass was traded to restaurants.

T&S Rabbits, a fur and meat company in the UK, breeds dozens of rabbits for business. In 2003, the UK banned fur farming, however, the meat industry can still legally sell fur as a by-product.

Yet activists are concerned with how the company treats rabbits. Witnesses claim rabbits in the Nottinghamshire site suffered from severe ear and brain problems, resulting in ear mites and tilt. Pictures show white rabbits covered in urine and living in undesirable environments. The Animal and Plant Health Agency inspected the surroundings of the site and found it “non-compliant” with animal welfare laws. A burnt rabbit was also found at a bonfire. 

Ayrton Cooper of Rabbit Farm Resistance UK was relieved two rabbits were “legally surrendered to us by workers.” The rabbits were brought to specialist veterinarians, with one of them staying in critical care for a week. The cost of the rescue arrived at approximately £1,800.

The company wished to expand its headquarters and skinning areas to Derbyshire, Cornwall and Buckinghamshire, claiming the rabbits were “free-range” and not mistreated. The T&S proprietor, Phil Kerry, insisted 280 rabbits in Nottinghamshire were healthy. 

He claimed activists have “exaggerated and skewed” the reality of his farms. He also explained the rabbits were covered with urine because “some of the bucks had been sprayed with urine from other bucks”. By raising this with a Defra vet, Kerry suggested the spraying as a standard practice and “occurs within the wild”. 

The Derby Telegraph reported the council’s decision in rejecting the company’s expansion plans, proposing they can be an “unwarranted and inherently unsustainable type of construction within the open nation-state”. A report on European wild rabbits affirmed them as “keystone species” in sustaining other species, in the context of a declining wild rabbit population. 

The University of East Anglia claimed wild rabbits are classed as endangered in their native Iberian Peninsula.


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Sam Gordon Webb

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August 2022
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