A few years ago, a number of wild rabbits in Chicago downtown were seen to have piercings on their ears. While ear piercings may look appealing among humans, such an act serves in opposition to that of a fashion statement. In fact, it was regarded as animal cruelty. Those rabbits were seen in a city square with objects in their ears. Residents confirmed that those objects were key chains, as well as old subway passes.
Without a doubt, such an act of piercing the ears of wild rabbits is not good. What about your pets at home? Is it safe to assume that ear piercings are fine for them?
Rabbits and Ear Piercings
Whether or not rabbits can have ear piercings is primarily an issue of being either humane or cruel to animals. While it is possible to painlessly and easily pierce human earlobes, mainly because the earlobe is all cartilage and skin, the ears of a rabbit are filled with blood vessels. These blood vessels help them to regulate the temperature of their body.
This means that piercing a rabbit’s ear will be really painful to them. The pain can then lead to trauma, and it would result in observing them lose their appetite, later on to gastrointestinal tract stasis, and even death. If the rabbit ends up surviving this ordeal, there is still the risk of infection, together with other involved risks, such as the rabbit possibly ripping the piercing out, or even ingesting the earrings.
Rabbit Ear Piercings – Is It Legal?
Human governments and other organizations believe that some pet obsessions, which include ear piercings, have obviously gone too far. For this reason, a bill that bans the piercing of pet animals, including rabbits, was passed unanimously in certain states.
Such a bill gained attention from animal rights groups and the general public. In fact, it was almost immediate. Why so? It has something to do with the feels. It just does not feel right to do things such as ear piercings that are common among humans on animals.
Under the bill, piercing of companion animals, including rabbits at home, may be allowed for identification, or medical purposes, and should only be done by a licensed veterinarian. It has something to do with the way the body of rabbits is designed, and of course, the fact that this is not a socially acceptable action.
What Rabbit Fanatics Say
Most animal rights supporters would definitely frown against the act of piercing the ears of these cute animals. These purely cosmetic procedures are invasive to them, and may cause pain, and even complications. As such, they should never be performed unless there is a valid reason to do so – that reason should be medical.
Different people have different reasons for piercing the ears of their rabbits. Still, it is not right and humane. The main difference between people and animals in this regard is that humans can give consent. It is their choice to pierce their ears, regardless of the reason that they may have. However, if somebody suddenly holds you down to pierce you without your consent, how would you feel? You may even shout foul and consider the action as an abuse.
Refuting the Claim
The real controversy was backed up by people who think that piercing the ears of their pet rabbits is not different than tail docking, feather clipping, declawing, devocalization, and others. In fact, they are considered as legal modifications. Since there is no specific law against piercing present in all states, many owners do as they please.
Another obvious argument that other people use is that baby girls usually have their ears pierced without their consent. They say that this is no difference. Well, the real difference here is that once the child grows older, she has the choice to keep or remove the earrings.
Most importantly, the makeup of the body of a human is different a rabbit. This is something that is not understood by many. This means that just because this action is not illegal across all states and places, it does not mean that this a good thing or a right thing to do.
Why the Rabbit Tags
If piercing the ears of rabbits is not a good and recommended thing to do, then why do we see bunnies with earrings? Why are there rabbit tags available? For one, there is a reason for these tags. These tags are often used on rabbits for various breeding, research, and conservation purposes. Still, conscious manufacturers create ear tags that will not harm the rabbits.
For example, among the most popular styles are those with thin metal tag with a plastic or aluminum washer. The tags are also designed depending on the size of the rabbit. The material and tag style may also vary depending on the environments that they are in as well as their species.
The way these tags are pierced into the ears of the rabbits is also systematically done. For example, they usually fold the ear in half first, and then locate the piercing point of the tag, which is usually half of its length, placing it down on the ear that is folded, while enabling the other half of the length to stay clear.
Then, the piercing can be done through both ear halves with a single applicator squeeze. The tag will be now securely located in the middle of the ear, with the number located to face out all the time for easy viewing.
What We Need to Understand
The opinions and stories that revolve around piercing rabbits for aesthetic purposes have been a source of arguments. There are many owners and organizations who pierce their pets for identification purposes. When they need to do so, they usually do it while putting the animal under anesthesia.
This means that before making any move, it is best to get yourself familiar with the process, and the impact that it has on the body of your pet. You surely would not want to see your rabbit suddenly looking weak, as a result of something that you thought would make it look cool.
While ear piercings can look good among humans, it is not the same with animals, much more your pet rabbits. They have a different makeup for their body, which means that what is considered as normal and acceptable among humans could already be dangerous and fatal to them.
Note, also, that children who get to experience ear piercings usually cry during the procedure. This only gives us a hint that there is pain that goes along with it. How much more with your innocent pets at home? It may not make them beg you for mercy, but it will surely cause them pain. You surely would not want that to happen. Ultimately, the decision as to whether or not you will pierce the ears of your rabbits highly depends on you. Nobody can stop you from doing so unless you fully understood the matter. Keep in mind, however, that your rabbits can feel pain too, and with the difference in the makeup of their bodies, they may end up suffering because of the ear piercing.