A Hutch is Not Enough - Benefits for Retailers

rwafretailcharterlogo (6K) Welcome to the RWAF's A Hutch is Not Enough page for retailers and manufacturers.

The RWAF's aim is to improve the lives of domestic rabbits in the UK, and to do that we know we have to work with the pet retail trade rather than against it.

This page outlines what our campaign is about, and how retailers of rabbits and rabbit accessories can benefit from putting the welfare of the animals at the heart of their business model.

We launched the retailer charter in 2012. At that time we wanted to establish 6ft hutches as common place for rabbits and encourage retailers and owners away from the smallest hutches available at that time which unfortunately included a lot of 3 ft hutches. Now, in 2017, we feel that everyone is better informed and better products are easily available. It is time to raise the bar again. We are therefore updating our charter requirements and the minimum size that we will accept being sold in the charter is now 5ft x 2ft x 2ft.

What are we asking retailers to do?

Sign up to our Retailer Charter , by agreeing:

  1. Not to stock hutches smaller than 5' x 2' x 2', and to stock hutches measuring at least 6' x 2' x2' in their range
  2. To stress to customers the importance of a run, even with a large hutch, and that rabbits need daily exercise in the run.
  3. To include our 'a hutch is not enough' leaflet in with every rabbit related sale (which will be provided free of charge).
What's in it for retailers?

If you sign up to our Retailer Charter then you'll get the following benefits:

  • Inclusion in the roll of honour on the RWAF website, in our quarterly magazine Rabbiting On and on our facebook page - making your outlet visible to thousands of rabbit enthusiasts.
  • A link on the RWAF website so rabbit owners can purchase hutches of 6' x 2' x 2' and above from you.
  • All the reputational benefits of being known as an ethical retailer.
  • Long term economic benefits of attracting 'customers for life' and increased cross sales - see Why Welfare is Good Business.
  • For online retailers - a banner for your website linking to a mini-site explaining to your customers why they should buy a large hutch, a large run, toys and good quality food and hay.

Click here to sign up to our Retailer Charter or email hq@rabbitwelfare.co.uk if you have any questions or suggestions.

Why Welfare is Good Business

How can pet retailers improve rabbit welfare in the UK? Or should the question be, how can welfare promote good business for pet retailers; because there is undoubtedly a convincing economic argument produced by good welfare practice.

The Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund would like to see all rabbits kept in neutered pairs, regularly vaccinated, on a good quality diet with unlimited access to hay, living in spacious accommodation and with access to a permanent exercise area. So surely we have a common goal with the pet retailer, as this would mean happy healthy rabbits living for 8-10 years, hence repeat business for the duration of their life. The impulse buy that is abandoned in a rescue within 6 months of sale (as 40% are according to new statistics) are not long term customers. Those owners who are committed to keeping their pair of rabbits for the life will mean sales of good quality feed and hay, bedding (bigger hutches take more bedding), and treats and toys for the run, perhaps for the next decade.

Pet retailers are often the only source of information to owners, so they play an extremely valuable role in educating people on their responsibilities, and preventing the all too common cases of neglect - caused mostly by ignorance - reported by rescues and on the RWAF helpline every day. So promoting the keeping of rabbits in neutered pairs, regular vet visits, a good diet and of course suitable accommodation (we recommend a 6ft hutch as a minimum for all breeds, plus an attached run) will be good for rabbit welfare and good for business.

At the point of sale, it's crucial to provide the customer with some information to take away with them. The Pet Care Trust of course has their own information sheets which can be personalised, and we have a range of leaflets available which we would be happy to supply to retailers.

Retailer Charter

Click here to sign up to our Retailer Charter or email hq@rabbitwelfare.co.uk if you have any questions or suggestions.

Retailer Charter

The above shows what good financial sense it is to consider Welfare as part of your business as a retailer. The first step towards this is to sign up to our Retailer Charter on hutch sizes.

Retailers can help welfare if they ensure:

  • Rabbits are sold in pairs or to be a companion to an existing rabbit
  • Suitable accommodation is for sale - the bigger the better
  • Good quality food, hay and bedding is available
  • Staff are well trained, able to answer questions and able to correctly sex rabbits (to prevent accidental and unwanted litters)
  • Impulse purchases are prevented
  • Customers are given approved literature to take away with them.