Her comment:One competitor summed his experience up this way: There is only one reason to have a rabbit. To win at a show or to breed a winner.
While I watched the video I saw people loving up on their rabbits, offering them kissy faces, having them out for a hop and teens talking about how they spend hours with their rabbits. Do some competitors have a win only mentality? Sure... but just as many if not more keep rabbits cause they love having them around.
Her Comment: As the film opens we are introduced to the concept of “Rabbit Royalty”: young people that compete in an annual contest to become “kings”, “queens”, “dukes”, duchesses”, lords” & ladies”, in an organization known as ARBA: The American Rabbit Breeding Association. The competition involves testing their knowledge of rabbit breeds, health, anatomy, as well as their goals in furthering their future careers in ARBA, as veterinarians, breeders, teachers, etc.
As we are introduced at length to each competitor in the ARBA competition, the rabbits themselves are treated as secondary items in the background.
So to win a title, you have to prove that you know something about what you are competing for. Hmm.. how is that different than doing a robotics competition, or any other type of competition. You have to know your facts. It's not a popularity contest...it's a know your facts reality. So would rabbits be treated as secondary for this aspect of the competition? OF COURSE THEY WOULD.. rabbits don't talk. This is a human competition so it's the humans and their knowledge that is being tested. :)
She said: It was a reoccurring sight to see these teens walking down rows of rabbit cages “caring for” the rabbits by giving them their once or twice daily food & water.
Having been to many rabbit shows (four per year for the past six years) What happens at rabbit shows is this. Rabbits are housed in cages big enough for them to move around in, while remaining safely confined. They are frequently taken out of their holding areas by their owners and not merely ignored. It is no different than showing any other animal.. cattle remaining in stalls, goats and sheep in holding pens, and so forth. At cooped shows cages are provided that give rabbits lots of running area for a day out.
Comment: except they are kept in wire cages with metal floors, which of course cause sore hocks on delicate soft rabbit feet.
I would ask what the proof is for this? What proof is there that wire caging CAUSES sore hocks? A properly bred rabbit with furred feet does NOT get sore hocks from wire cages. A poorly bred and maintained rabbit can and might get sore hocks from ANY type of housing. I've rescued pet rabbits that get free run on homes with sore hocks. So it's not the housing. :)
Comment: They are picked up, manhandled roughly, examined, (“hoe to toe” judging) and shoved back into their cages dozens of times by dozens of people over the course of the day. For those of us that know rabbits…any single of these elements is unthinkably traumatic, but all together in one or many days is beyond my mind.
Yes, at rabbit shows rabbits are handled. Are they roughly manhandled? No. Are they handled? Yes. They have their teeth, feet, privates, eyes and body, everything is checked. They are flipped over safely and that's the easiest way to safely and carefully check over a rabbit well. A veterinarian should do the same thing if giving a rabbit a thorough check up. :) Generally this happens to the rabbits 1-3 times in a day, the rest of the time the rabbit is either be loved up on, cared for or being allowed to rest as rabbits tend to do during the day anyways.
Her final comment: For me this film was as traumatic as a horror film. It is so disturbing, so alarming and what is worse is this is a segment of the country seen as wholesome and positive for young people.
I found this comment a bit dramatic. THIS film is so horrifying and traumatic. Teens, busy with a hobby where no people or property is hurt or damaged, were animals are being well cared for... is a horror show? I do not now, nor do I ever think I will understand that sentimentality. Caring for rabbits, needing to know as much as you can about them, prepares teens for the larger world outside their homes. As one competitor said.... This has prepared me for employment. Isn't that what we want for our children? To grow up and become functioning members of society? Able to care well for others (including critters) and to be able to present themselves well?
This film focused on the human contest, not the rabbit contest. So the focus will be on the people, not on the rabbits. The teens have to work hard to win this, and they should be applauded without it being seen as a horror show.