Friday, July 6, 2012

Book Review - Storey's Guide to Raising Rabbits

Rabbits are one of the animals that Andrea and I seriously considering raising. When I saw a copy of Storey's Guide to Raising Rabbitsrecently I asked Andrea if she had considered buying it. We own several other Storey's Guides, so this seemed like a good one to pick up. She expressed some concern about the approach to raising rabbits that may be advocated in the book, however, so wanted to do more research. A few days later, she came home from town with a library copy of the book.

To be fair, I must admit that I did not read this book cover to cover. I did read many sections of the book in their entirety, and glanced at the others. What I found is that because I disagreed with some of the things the author suggests, I tended to question all of the advice. This isn't to say that the advice being given is bad, but because some of the suggestions went against my views on how animals should be treated, I tended to be more skeptical of the other suggestions as well.

The first thing that jumped out at me was the discussion of raising rabbits to sell to laboratories. I do not support the use of animals for product testing, and find the idea of profiting from this business very unpleasant. Next, I read a section on cages where the author scoffed at the idea that wire-bottom cages may not be comfortable for the rabbits. This is a topic that Andrea and I have discussed, before. It may be that the author is correct in his assertion that wire bottoms are perfectly fine for rabbit cages. The section on selling rabbits to laboratories, however, made it clear that the author does not share my opinion on what is humane treatment of rabbits, which then makes me wonder if I can trust his opinion on whether wire-bottom cages are humane. The third thing that jumped out at me was the insistence that rabbit pellets are the best food choice for rabbits. It does not surprise me that pellets were the suggested food, but it did surprise me that opting for a natural diet was not even discussed as a reasonable alternative. The author does make mention of natural foods that can be given to the rabbit as treats, but he makes it clear that this should be done in moderation, and pellets used as the sole source of nutrition. We hope to grow most, if not all, of the food for our rabbits, so yet again, I found myself disagreeing with the recommendations being made in the book.

I read a few other reviews of this book, and its clear that I'm not the only one who disagrees with much of the advice being given by the author. I believe the book is aimed at people interesting in intensive production of rabbits, either for high-volume sales or perhaps meat production. There is certainly a market for this type of book, as there are many people interested in raising rabbits for these reasons. Obviously, however, Andrea and I need to keep looking for a good book on raising rabbits that is more in line with our views on how animals should be treated.

This book serves is a good example of why I want to include reviews in this blog. Any review is going to be biased, based on the values, views, and perceptions of the person writing the review. My hope is to provide some reviews that are representative of my views, to provide more information for others who are similar to me.

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