Trade Me under fire for labelling rabbits as low maintenance, easy to care for pets

Source: 1News

Trade Me is under fire for labelling rabbits as low maintenance, easy-to-care-for pets.

Animal rescue groups say that's totally wrong and perpetuates a dangerous narrative that often results in rabbits being returned.

"Any animal is easy to look after if you are just going to put it in a cage and not give it love and care that it needs and deserves," rabbit owner Kate Southorn told 1 NEWS.

Wellington Rabbit Rescue has written to Trade Me complaining about its large banner on the homepage for rabbits and guinea pigs claiming they are "low maintenance pets" and "easy to care for".

"When you bring up this false misconception that rabbits are really low maintenance, you set the families up to fail, you set the animals up to fail," Wellington Rabbit Rescue's Kat Ferris says.

Trade Me says it works hard to promote positive animal welfare and is now reviewing the wording used on its site.

The SPCA agrees the banner needs to be changed.

"Often we have animals surrendered to us because they haven't really thought of the care of the animals," SPCA's Ros Alsford says.

"They haven't thought of the consequences behind the vet costs, behind the cost of desexing."

In a year where lockdowns and time at home have fueled a love for animals, there's concern Christmas may mean even more people buy pets as gifts without thinking it through.

"They're not just something to play with on Christmas Day and handed back," Alsford says.

People are encouraged to do their research before getting an animal for their family and think carefully before bringing them home.