Giving rabbits, chicks as Easter prizes warrants concern

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The Humane Society of Utah is worried about the welfare of animals given as prizes

Every year, the Humane Society of Utah issues a public appeal to consider alternative Easter gifts instead of purchasing live animals such as baby rabbits, ducklings and chicks. This Easter season, the HSU is also concerned about an outdated practice of giving live animals as prizes. The Seven Peaks Fun Center in Lehi has advertised that patrons can win rabbits and chicks during their Spring Festival March 30 through April 11, 2015, and the HSU worries about the welfare of these animals.

In Salt Lake County, per § 8.08.110 Baby rabbits and fowl – Restrictions, it is unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale, barter or give away any baby rabbits or fowl under eight weeks of age during the two week period preceding Easter in any quantity less than 25.

The city of Lehi does not have any ordinance to prohibit the giving away of rabbits and chicks.

“People used to dye chicks and give animals away for Easter many years ago but we’ve come a long way since then,” said Gene Baierschmidt, HSU executive director.

The Humane Society of Utah does not condone awarding live animals as carnival prizes. Some may go to a proper home, however, most of these animals will end up in shelters and many will be abused, abandoned, or may die from lack of proper care.

New pet ownership involves years of committed care giving, including time and financial obligations. The decision to care for a pet should not be entered into hastily.

If a person is seriously interested in owning a rabbit as a pet, the Humane Society of Utah recommends getting the necessary information to make an informed decision first.

There are many rabbits available for adoption at the HSU. Staff members will discuss questions to ensure a good fit for both the owner and animal. More information about animals available for adoption may be found at utahhumane.org.