Giant rabbits 'bred for meat' rescued from allotment in Ashington

One rabbit weighed more than 8kg, the equivalent weight of a medium-sized dog. Credit: RSPCA

Dozens of giant rabbits have been rescued from an overcrowded allotment where animal welfare inspectors believe they were being bred for meat.

The RSPCA discovered 42 Flemish giant rabbits in Ashington, Northumberland, living in what they called dreadful conditions where they had been left to breed with each other.

Of all the rabbits rescued from cramped hutches, one weighed more than 8kg (17.6lb), which the RSPCA says is the equivalent weight of a medium-sized dog, and had ears that were seven inches long.

Cookie Crisp, one of the rabbits rescued, weighs 4kg. Credit: RSPCA

Several of the charity’s centres, branches and licensed private boarding kennels took in the rabbits while some were looked after by inspectors as many RSPCA centres are already full with unwanted rabbits.

The charity is now appealing to find the rabbits a new home.

RSPCA inspector Trevor Walker, who helped rescue the rabbits over several days in July, said: “Two or three of the rabbits were really big rabbits, while others were crossbreeds and were smaller in size."

The RSPCA believes the Flemish giant rabbits were being bred for their meat. Credit: RSPCA

He continued: “They all went to various branches for rehoming apart from one who had to be put to sleep sadly as she was suffering from an eye infection.

“Despite their size, they will make good companion animals and they have a nice temperament. 

“Sadly, rabbits are becoming an increasing problem across the RSPCA as we are seeing more and more coming into our care, many as a result of the cost of living crisis.”