Sentient Rabbits:

Compassion

 

 

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Sentience in Farm Animals  Animal Sentience Stories

To add interest I have interspersed this commentary with thought provoking quotations from philosophers, ethicists, scientists and other notable thinkers both past and present.

This is part of a section called Sentient Rabbits which focuses on aspects of rabbit sentience.

Compassion

We can tell if a creature is sentient if he or she shows compassion or is able to form bonds with other animals, though of course there are many species who other than mating and rearing their offspring live solitary lives. Nonetheless if an animal shows compassion to others of his kind or even towards those of another species this is surely an indication of sentience. Rabbits are social creatures capable of forming friendships and bonds.

 

Rabbits are capable of showing compassion and altruism not only to other rabbits but also to members of other species.

 

There are many accounts of rabbits showing compassion and caring, here are just a few of them.
 

Rabbits assist other species. It has been well documented that rabbits will try and assist an injured bird.
 

These rabbits and rodents are sentient beings. This means that they have the capacity to feel. They are capable of feeling pain and suffering. In addition, they can feel mourning and loss. When a few of them have formed a close bond, when one of that small group dies or is taken away, there are clear signs of depression amongst those who remain. They don't eat, lie listlessly, and sniff around for the deceased one. All of these animals, rodents and rabbits, are capable of showing affection to other members of the group, and to human beings as well.

Altruism is the capacity to show compassion, and science has revealed that this is the case. Most stories are anecdotal, however this compassionate behaviour has been seen over and over again." 

 

Continue Reading:
The article is well worth reading as it supports the need to end animal experimentation which not only harms animals of course but is also ineffective and even unsafe science

"The differences – we have seen that biologically they are vastly different form us which leaves us with the conclusion that to use them is research represents extremely unsafe and bad science.
In this 21st Century, we should aim primarily to make this a better world for all concerned by the application of sound science, with compassion."

http://cavyrescue.co.uk/rodents-and-rabbits-in-research/

The following is an example of how closely rabbits bond with one another and care for each other. This story concerns the close bond between our adopted rabbits Sooty and Joey who are now no longer with us. I believe that Sooty knew Joey was ill and maybe even knew he was dying and showed in her own way consideration and compassion.

Sooty a tiny black Netherlands dwarf rabbit came to us from a situation of neglect where she had been alone for a long time. We soon tried to find her a companion as rabbits are very social creatures and do not like to live alone. Finally a volunteer from the RSPCA brought us Joey, a rabbit of about four years of age who came to them with a companion who was sadly euthanized as he was too ill to recover. I do not know much about either of these unfortunate rabbits except that I have the strong feeling that at the least they were neglected when it comes to affection and human contact.

Joey arrived early in the afternoon shaking all over clearly exceptionally nervous after his trip in the car in an animal carrier. Far more nervous than Sooty had ever been. Soon within twenty-four hours, though it was touch and go, he and Sooty bonded and were from that time forward inseperable companions grooming each other, sitting side by side, it was a joy to see, more so considering the difficult lives that both rabbits had led. Joey enjoyed racing round our small garden jumping in the air, he enjoyed his freedom after a long confinement; I suspect Joey rather like Sooty viewed the world from the grid of his tiny hutch.

It is unusual for rabbits to bond so quickly, within hours Joey was licking Sooty though both were a little jumpy. Joey continued to be nervous of us and ran into one of the cardboard boxes that we called their bunkers or their panic rooms, a retreat from noise and any disturbance, which scared them. Joey gradually became less timid though was always more nervous than Sooty. I think he had had little other than the minimum of contact with humans, most likely only when food or water was brought to him and his companion. Sadly this is often the case with rabbits who begin their lives as a companion animal to please a child and at first are much cuddled and fussed only to finish up at the bottom of the garden when the children have got bored. Rabbits really are not suitable companions for children, they need quite a bit of care and attention, the right food and environment and more often than not they do not like to be picked up.

Sadly rabbits are less well cared for than either a cat or a dog and it appears to me that their lives are regarded as less important. All too soon they are abandoned, ignored and neglected.

It is unfortunate that many people do not see the amazing creatures that rabbits are. They are far more intelligent than people think, crafty and devious at times. Sooty really is not keen on coming indoors during the winter from playing outside and had worked out that if she sat in the middle of the stairs in the two level hutches no one can reach her. She soon learnt when she was about to be taken indoors and as soon as she saw her carrying box she fled for cover. She knows when we are to go to bed as she has learnt that at this time she gets a treat.

Both rabbits were an absolute joy and it was a privilege to care for them. For the first time in her unhappy life Sooty had a companion and Joey had found a new friend after loosing his mate. Sooty sadly had cataracts, as she was an older bunny about seven or eight. She could still see well enough as this was only in the early stages.

Many humans think they are better than animals, more advanced intellectually, morally and so on. Yet animals unlike human beings except one another without judgement or discrimination, age does not matter to a rabbit. Joey who was about four years old accepted an ageing Sooty who was a different breed than he, animals simply do not notice such things unlike the discrimination and segregation of human beings that results in loneliness and isolation for many people.

Unfortunately only a month or so after Joey came to live with us he was diagnosed with Melanoma and only had months to live. We tried surgery twice but nothing could save him. Towards the end Sooty seemed to know that he was ill. Before as an unneutered rabbit she would mount him vigorously, he was very patient and ignored this. However Sooty stopped doing this as though she knew Joey was ill. Sooty groomed and cared for Joey all the time they were together. They had a strong bond; it was love at first sight.

 

Joey and Sooty soon bonded

Joey and Sooty the day after they met, it was love at first sight

 

More stories, information, videos, will be added as they come to my attention. If you have a story or information to share about rabbits showing compassion please contact me:

Particularly welcome are personal anecdotes about your companion rabbit or any rabbit known to you personally.  Don't worry about writing skills or lack thereof, it matters not, what is important is to share as many stories that show that rabbits are sentient beings, intelligent, compassionate, loving, playful and so on. It is important to get people to realise that rabbits are aware, intelligent have emotions including the ability to be playful, happy, contented but that they also experience pain and suffering.

Select other aspects of rabbit sentience.

 

General intelligence
 

Playfulness
 

Altruism
 

Grief
 

Pleasure
 

Love
 

Friendship
 

Heroism
 

Emotion in rabbits

 

Credits

 

Heading graphic:

Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez (Lmbuga Commons)(Lmbuga Galipedia)
Publicada por/Publish by: Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coello_GDFL51.jpg

Important please note:

I am not an animal expert of any kind just your average person who loves animals, all animals, and feels deeply about the plight of many of our fellow creatures. Neither am I a writer, or any other expert. Therefore please keep in mind that the information included in this website has been researched to the best of my ability and any misinformation is quite by accident but of course possible.

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