Like most holidays, Easter is filled with risks to our pets. The chocolate and the artificially sweetened treats containing Xylitol are pet hazards lurking in the Easter basket. along with the colorful plastic grass that can cause major intestinal problems if your pet eats it. The Easter Lily is especially toxic to cats. But Easter pets like bunnies, chicks and ducklings have no place in the Easter basket - unless you intend to raise rabbits, chickens and ducks.
Easter is a holiday with a wonderful message of love, but people who care about animals realize it can be one of the most heart-breaking times of the year. They know that live bunnies, chicks and ducklings will find their way into the hands of children on Easter morning, and that many of these baby animals will not survive the week.
Most of those that do survive that first week will not live out the month. That’s because these young creatures really are babies, needing gentle care and handling, protection from changes in temperature and special feeding. Instead they find themselves in the hands of young children who may not know how to hold them or care for them. They squeeze to hard or accidentally drop the baby animals, breaking fragile bones and causing other fatal injuries.
What do these Easter pets have to offer in return? Well, one thing is salmonella, a bacteria often found in such animals as chicken, ducks and even rabbits. Children can easily become infected when they fail to wash their hands after handling infected animals.
And what happens to the live Easter chicks, ducklings and bunnies that do manage to survive? Too often the novelty wears off as both children and adults realize they didn’t really intend to raise chickens, ducks or rabbits. Some live out lives of neglect in backyard pens. Others are “set free” to live in the wild, even though they have no skills to do so. And some are surrendered to animal shelters.
As you might guess, there aren’t too many people interested in adopting chicks, bunnies and ducks after Easter so they end up as statistics in a category often referred to by animal welfare professionals as “Easter cruelty”.
It doesn’t seem fair to the animals, does it? And it really is not fair to the children who want a pet they can hold and cuddle, and who may learn instead that animals are disposable.
Animals never make good seasonal pets. This Easter, celebrate the holiday with soft stuffed toys that were made especially for children to cuddle and hug to their heart’s content, when you’re speaking of Easter pets.