Globally around 1.2 billion rabbits are slaughtered for meat each year, 99 per cent of which are kept in barren cages - the most common type of housing for rabbits. Cages cause severe welfare issues due to insufficient space, social isolation or high stocking density, disease, injury, uncomfortable flooring and a lack of enrichment for behavioural expression. The routine use of antibiotics is also very high in rabbit production.
Good Rabbit Award
We are seeking companies that are addressing the welfare needs of rabbits by moving them out of cages and giving them more space and environmental enrichment to allow them to exhibit their natural behaviours such as hopping, gnawing, hiding and socialising. Our award criteria also prohibits the routine use of antibiotics.
There are three types of award available:
- Good Rabbit Commendation for meeting the welfare criteria for meat rabbits
- Good Doe Commendation for meeting the welfare criteria for does
- Good Rabbit Award for meeting the welfare criteria for both does and meat rabbits
Successful applicants must have a current policy or commitment to meet the award criteria within five years.
Winning an accolade for animal welfare can provide excellent marketing opportunities and have a positive effect on the reputation of your organisation.
In the past 2 years, Compassion has already recognised two leading German companies for introducing higher welfare standards for rabbits, in recognition of the growing consumer demand for cage-free products:
- In 2013, we presented German retailer Kaufland with a Best Retailer Innovation Award for working with their suppliers ‘Bauer’ to introduce a cage-free production system which offers key welfare benefits for the rabbits in their supply chain, and which are now sold under the ‘Four Paws’ higher welfare certification.
- In 2014, German wholesaler BreFood received a Rabbit Innovation Award for developing an open pen system with their suppliers in China which gives the rabbits more space and environmental enrichment to allow them to perform their natural behaviours.
Kaufland and BreFood are already collectively benefitting more than 1.2 million rabbits per year and have demonstrated that higher welfare indoor rabbit production is viable on a commercial scale.