February 3rd 2011 should mark a happy start to the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit. However, it also marks the worst epidemic of Myxomatosis, spread by mosquitoes around Australia due to the floods and heavy rain.
Domestic rabbits are the third most popular pet in Australia. Beloved family pets are dying from this fatal introduced disease, not intended for them, due to the government's refusal to allow the myxo vaccine for pet rabbits in Australia.
Radical Rabbit, an Australian group dedicated to stopping the abuse of domestic rabbits, has begun the biggest campaign ever to hit the Federal Government to demand the myxo vaccine.
"We want the myxomatosis vaccination available for our pet rabbits", exclaims Karen, Radical Rabbit's founder.
"Radical Rabbit is campaigning to have bunny owners send one million toy rabbits or photos to the Hon Joe Ludwig, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry in memory of their bunny who has been lost to myxo. Toy bunnies are already in the mail to arrive by Thursday 3rd February, the official start to the Chinese Year of the Rabbit.
The Minister needs to see that the community are angry that they are unable to provide basic care for their beloved family pet from this introduced disease", says Karen. "If a deadly contagious disease affected humans, dogs or cats, there wold be an immediate vaccine available. Pet rabbits have suffered enough. We want our vaccine and we want it now!"
The myxomatosis virus was introduced in 1950 in an attempt to control the introduced wild rabbit population. The wild rabbits have since developed a natural immunity to the virus over many decades. Pet rabbits have not had any chance to develop an immunity to this fatal disease and 100% will die if infected.
"I miss my little bunny so much. If the vaccine was available, he'd still be here. I'm so worried his brother might catch it too. I love my bunnies and I am a responsible pet owner. I had both of them desexed and kept them safe. I would never ever let them mix with wild rabbits. I don't understand why we can't have the myxo vaccine. It's cruel!", said Sally Landells, who lost her bunny Ralph recently to myxo.
A myxo vaccine is available in the UK & Europe.
To join in Radical Rabbit's campaign, please visit - http://www.radicalrabbit.org/