It was brought to our attention that the Big Cat Rescue in Tampa has been training bobcats to hunt by using live domesticated rabbits. As a rabbit rescue and animal advocates we are infuriated to hear about this cruel practice. Using domesticated rabbits to train these animals is useless. The picture below captures a moment when the bunny comes up to the cat and touches his nose, only a trustworthy rabbit would do this, so the question that remains is what kind of training is this?
I do not think that in the wild these animals will be able to get a prey animal this easily and it is cruel to put a defenseless bunny through this kind of torture. Please help us by writing to their CEO and the Humane Society as this cruel practice needs to stop!Later that same day, GRR posted the following video on their facebook page:
Both the video and the blog post have prompted many rabbit advocates to call upon Big Cat Rescue (BCR) to change it's practice of using live, domestic rabbits as prey for their bobcats. However, BCR maintains that it is necessary to provide live prey as part of the rehabilitation process.
I would like to call upon both sides to put aside their differences to find a resolution to this issue. Perhaps if the folks from GRR and BCR worked together they could find a solution that would address the concerns of both groups.
What do you think? Is it necessary to teach hunting skills to bobcats or are these skills innate? Is live prey truly necessary, and if so, should BCR use wild rabbits rather than domestic rabbits? Please leave your comments below or visit Gainesville Rabbit Rescue and Big Cat Rescue on facebook to share your thoughts and concerns.