Rabbit Community: what happened to you?

rabbit community what happened to you

Tough love, folks. Tough questions. #flakworthy questions.

It makes me sad to see the state of today’s rabbit community. Where did the fun go? The willingness to help each other? The friendly competition?

When I went to my first ARBA show years back, I remember the intense yet enjoyable atmosphere. The friendly competition. Breeders wanted to help me; a new youth breeder. They offered me good stock. And I ended up with a son of an ARBA convention BOB Holland Lop buck.

The older rabbit folks I am friends with remember when shows were fun. Who cared if you sold a rabbit and the buyer went on to beat you with it? The goal was true community, lifelong friendships, and improving the breed.

Now I see breeders who are almost cutthroat. Who doesn’t take competition as friendly? I see a ‘why be in it if not to win it’ mentality. While it’s good to want to win, it can get out of control and crush other people. Leaving a hurting, broken, mess in its wake.

Q & A: answering YOUR questions

Do we want more people to enter the rabbit world? Why do we think no one else is good enough? How are people supposed to start? What about the not sharing good genetics mentality? It is because of fear? Fear that someone else might use that particular rabbit to improve their herd? And maybe beat you at a show?

Why do we cut each other down instead of building each other up and encouraging each other?

And before we go any farther, yes, I understand that there are breeders to avoid. That there are rabbits who should only go as pet quality. I get that. 🙂 I also know there are C***d breeders who got in just to make money. And I see new breeders who are frustrated to be labelled as such when they are not.

I’ve been raising and breeding rabbits for 14 or so years. I’ve seen bad breeders. I’ve seen rabbits who should only be pet quality. I’ve also seen amazing breeders.

Did we all start out with absolutely, 100% amazing, the best-est ever rabbits ever? I’m guessing that’s a no.

Yes, I understand it is the responsible thing to do to know where your rabbits are ending up. Sales policies are good things. (I’ve had to enforce mine before). And side note here: yes – my sales policy can sound scary. Some people’s adoption forms can be too. But, these are the legal documents of the rabbit world and are worded as such. I am not as stuffy as my sales policy sounds and I’ll bet the same goes for many breeders who have such documents and policies 🙂


Imagine, for a moment, that you are a new breeder who has researched the breed, you’ve learned as much as you can hands-off. And you get in touch with a breeder. Only to be told you don’t know anything and have no business even thinking you could be a good breeder. How would you feel?


tri color holland lop alberta

There are amazing breeders in this community. They are fun. They are encouraging. They are willing to help. And I love seeing their rabbits on social media.

I’m asking you, as a breeder, no matter what size, no matter how long you have (or have not) been raising rabbits, no matter if you personally know me or not: how are you treating new breeders?

Are you encouraging? Are you constructive in your criticism? Do you genuinely try and help? Where is your heart in all of this? What are your real goals? Why are you breeding rabbits?

Please do not read this and in your mind go, “oh, THAT breeder needs to read this!“. Because that’s missing the point, my rabbit friend. Do feel free to share, but please, not with that mindset.


Here’s the thing

I do not view other people with tris or harlequins as my competition. I will sell to any reputable breeder – or dedicated new breeder – who wants to further and better the breed. I don’t raise Holland Lops so I can beat everyone else. I raise Hollands because I love them and want to improve tri & harlequin Holland Lops first and foremost.

What your sales policy and adoption forms say is up to you. How you raise your rabbits is up to you. The colors and combos you raise is up to you. The breeds you mix is up to you.

But please consider how they make people feel and if you are inviting other people into the rabbit community or shutting them out. I care about this rabbit community. There are truly some wonderful people in it.

Will I get flak for saying this? Probably. I’m not writing this for any particular breeder, but for the whole community. I hope it makes us all think. And I am writing this because I care about you.


And one more thing

Instagram breeders: quit being so high and mighty! It’s incredibly sad (and annoying) to read the post new breeders are putting up. There are nicer ways to say things. Just because you consider yourself a reputable breeder doesn’t automatically make you one. That is earned. And it’s way more then how you raise your rabbits. It’s your reputation, how you treat people, the tone of your social media posts, etc.

I would rather deal with a kind, considerate, encouraging “backyard” breeder then a haughty, know-it-all “reputable” breeder. Plain and simple. And the truth is, those kinds of “reputable” breeders can contribute to giving rabbit breeding a bad name. Not just backyard breeders.


Megan

Rabbit Community: what happened to you?
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