Last Thursday, four rabbits in a Warwick Mall photo studio reportedly drowned in the floods that have been ravaging Rhode Island. Although the mall had been evacuated two days earlier, the bunnies—whom Portrait Simple studios was using as props for in-store Easter photos—were left behind in their cage on a "high shelf" in the studio. When employees returned to the studio two days later, they discovered that the cage had apparently fallen from its perch and that all the rabbits had drowned.
When PETA first heard about Portrait Simple's use of live rabbits for photos a few weeks ago, we contacted the studio and the store's director of operations told us that the rabbits were "well cared for, played with, coddled, and loved by our team members." Now, in the aftermath of these preventable deaths, we're asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to revoke Portrait Simple's exhibitor license in order to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens at the studio again. You can help by contacting Portrait Simple and asking it to implement a "no animals" policy at its stores.
It goes without saying that all animals should be safely evacuated in the event of an emergency and that the best way to protect animals from a natural disaster is to prepare beforehand, but Portrait Simple shouldn't have been exploiting these rabbits in the first place. Every Easter, "Bunny Fever" hits stores and homes alike as retailers pimp out live rabbits without giving them the care that they need and families buy rabbits who eventually become unwanted once the Easter season subsides. After Easter's over, the rabbits are often relegated to outdoor hutches, dumped at animal shelters, or simply abandoned to fend for themselves outdoors, where they starve or are killed by predators. Most end up dead or homeless before their first birthday.
If you ever think of welcoming a rabbit into your home, educate yourself first, always adopt from a shelter, and have the animal spayed or neutered. And if you're not ready to commit to caring for the bunny for 10 years, choose an "Easter Bunny" who can remain with you forever: a stuffed animal!
Posted by Logan Scherer