ESSENCE Online March 2009

Welcome to ESSENCE Online!

Enjoy the stimulating articles, recipes, artwork and so much more in the University of Victoria Environmental Studies Student Assciation’s periodical – ESSENCE – in PDF format online!

To see the below copy of ESSENCE a bit bigger, click on the little icon in the top right to make it full-screen!

Essence March 2009


  1. Alex
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    The layout looks fantastic, the articles are great, the whole thing is sooo inspiring! Hurray! Great job everyone involved!!!

  2. Heike
    Posted March 6, 2009 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Alex! This is so great!!
    Thanks a million!

  3. Heike
    Posted March 10, 2009 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    There has been some good commentary around the controversial issue of the rabbits on the UVic campus. Below are outlined a few comments on the part of the author who wrote the article:

    “I’ve outlined some of the major points that frame my argument for eating the
    1. They are a good food source being nutritious, organic and local. What
    other meat can you eat in which virtually no fossil fuels have been used to
    feed, house, butcher, freeze, or transport?
    2. There are too many of them, they are eating the landscaping and they
    aren’t native. The university recently spent $1,000,000 on landscaping
    plants. Now the rabbits are mowing them down, digging them up, and girdling
    them. (I wonder how many students’ tuition could be paid for $1,000,000?)
    3. If the rabbit density gets too high they will likely become a source of
    TB and other diseases.

    I understand the logical vegetarian opposition. I hope they can understand
    why an omnivore like me strives to eat meat with an environmental
    consciousness. I care about the welfare of the animals too, that is why I
    try to kill my own mean. Then I can see exactly how much the animal suffers
    because I am the one killing it. I try to do it as quickly and as
    respectfully as possible. I “give thanks” for my food with a new
    understanding now that I have eaten meat I killed myself.

    I hope this helps,

    Commentary and discussion around this controversial issue are a very positive thing, but I do highly encourage that comments are kept respectful and framed constructively.

    Heike Lettrari

  4. Christina Barnes
    Posted March 10, 2009 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Here are a few points from someone who believes that you can live an environmentally conscience life without killing animals:

    1. The rabbits at UVic are not wild rabbits but abandoned rabbits that were once someone’s pet or a relative of that rabbit. Therefore, they are domestic stray animals and equivalent to killing a stray dog or cat. It is unlawful to kill a stray animal found on your property or someone elses property.

    2. The killing method described in the article is inhumane and could result in the injury of the rabbit and/or person especially if they have not killed a rabbit before.

    3. If a person were to not kill the rabbit instantly but harm it they could be charged with cruelty to animals. I once fostered a rabbit that was found at UVic with an arrow lodged in it’s ear by someone wanted to make a meal of it. The rabbit suffered immensely and the bow and arrow owners were caught. In addition, another Uvic student faced charges after punching a rabbit in a similar fashion as described in your article. He was not a popular guy after the event.

    4. Rabbits can carry zoonotic diseases. Many zoonotic diseases. Just look it up.

    On a personal note it seems rather strange to me that a Enviromental studies periodical would condone such a thing as killing a rabbit and I’m sure the businesses that have ads in this periodical might think the same thing.

    Christina Barnes

  5. Alex
    Posted March 10, 2009 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the constructive feedback on that article Christina! It certainly raises a lot of valid points that also need to be considered when looking at this issue.
    One thing that I would suggest for further discussion based on your post relates to the prevalence of zoonotic diseases in rabbits. It seems to me that lowering the number of rabbits in a concentrated space such as the UVic campus might have a positive influence in regards to reducing transmission of such diseases.
    One other thing to mention is that the article does not mention punching a rabbit but rather killing it in a way that is intended to be fast and humane. This is not an issue of torturing animals in any way. This is an issue of consuming an animal just like consuming a cow, pig, or chicken that has been killed in a humane way. Of course this does bring to the table the consideration of vegetarianism, but that is a separate story.
    Certainly ESSENCE, an Environmental Studies periodical does have a more liberal outlook and animal rights are also a liberal matter which presumably many or most of ESSA’s members and ESSENCE’s readership supports. On the other hand, the article simply presents ideas on how to better an ecosystem while providing a protein source much in the same way as hunter-gatherers and other nomadic peoples have done for years and years. No-one is condoning any mistreatment of animals and no one ever will in this publication or any other outlet from ESSA.
    I agree that it could cause injury and pain to the animal or a human if the rabbit were not killed in a humane and proper fashion. It would definitely be advisable for someone to research the proper method before doing this.

  6. Heike
    Posted March 11, 2009 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    Christina, if I may also reply:
    All of your points are valid, but I think that Abe’s points are valid, too.
    I think first and foremost this article needed to be read with a bit of humour. As has been pointed out, the people who will ACTUALLY be on campus hunting these rabbits will do so in likely a discreet manner, if at all, and they will likely be very limited in number. But Alex raises an important fact above: in no way does this condone animal cruelty or anything in that manner. In fact, the author himself identifies the opposite in an earlier comment above.

    In all seriousness, however, I am very glad for your response. This is a controversial issue with good points to be made on both sides of the table. The people behind both arguments need to be respected.
    ESSENCE is a publication that is meant to shed light on current environmental issues, and this is what we are doing. The fact that an article may be controversial or present a unique point of view does not entitle us to sensor the content or repress opinions. The fact that we published it does not mean that we agree with it. Everyone in this country has a right to freedom of speech.
    Now that the controversy has been raised, however, we are providing this space as a place for people to put comments and discuss this issue, as is being done.

    Again, thanks for your input.
    Heike Lettrari

  7. Christina Barnes
    Posted March 11, 2009 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I agree that everyone has a right to express opinions and proud that in our country everyone has a right to freedom of speech. However, just because you can say whatever you want doesn’t mean their aren’t consequences to what you say. What the article suggests is an illegal act. It is not the equivalent of killing a squirrel deemed a pest.

    The rabbits have zoonotic diseases because of their biology and because they are domestic rabbits that are not suited to the wild. It is a very stressful life as an abandoned rabbit which supresses their immune system and makes them more susceptile to infections. Besides Abe, rabbits dye from dehydration, disease, loose dogs, each other and birds of prey. I caution eating any rabbit that you can catch as they may carry these diseases. A healthy rabbit would be one difficult to catch.

    If you ate rabbit everyday for a year it would not make much impact on the population. England has tried to irradicate the rabbit for many years and has failed. In fact, they did more harm than good as they introduced more non-native species.

    The rabbits are being dumped all the time by people thinking that it is a better life after they lose interest in the pet. Once I talked with a Grandma who had bought three rabbits (one for each of her grandchildren) for Easter. She was assured by the pet store clerk that all three were female but they were wrong and ended up with twenty rabbits in one month. Imagine what that number would be in 6 months!

    The best way to control this population is to prevent the influx. There needs to be laws preventing people from getting rabbits at pet stores or at least getting unfixed rabbits from pet stores.

    So why did this article get published? By eating a rabbit you are not “restoring” UVic’s gardens. Another newspaper at UVic wrote a similar article and I question whether these same individuals are working on this “periodical”. Is it just for controversy? To gain readership?

    I would not have a problem with somone raising rabbits for meat where the animal has water, food and shelter before it is killed. Just like I support farmers and people with enough space to raise chickens, pigs and cows.

    The problem I have with your article is the suffering that the rabbit with inevitably endure. If everyone who read your article went out and killed a rabbit to eat some would kill them humanely and some would not. We are not a third world country where we need to kill our pets for food. We have the ability to make decisions where animals don’t have to suffer and can live a good quality of life before it hits our dinner table.


  8. Posted March 11, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I would like to just re-itterate Christinas point, these are not *wild game* animals that are being trapped, killed, & eaten. They are domestic animals who were someones pets at some point. It is akin to eating someones family pet and sadly we have to compare to a cat or dog in order for anyone to empathize with the bunnies plight. If it were truly wild rabbits being eaten, then there would be more understanding.

    I always shake my head when people are concerned on the dollar amount attached to a garden and value that as being more important to that of a living salient being. The rabbits, who didn’t choose to be sold, bought & dumped, are less important and thus considered a *pest*, all in preference of a flower garden.

    No one cares about a rabbit until it affect someones pocket book or garden. It is a sad reflection of our society. Until it affects someones pocket book, then the rabbit problem is ignored.

    These poor animals suffer torment & torture…..none of which they asked for.
    Please view some of the animals we have worked to help that have been *dumped* by society and as you had mentioned above, see if you can *read it with a sense of humor*. I am sorry but in no way, can I read Abes article with a sense of humor. Having read that comment made me sick to the core…..I can’t believe someone would find humor in that. Perhaps though we have seen the outcome of this humor and have looked into the eyes of the so called joke and have been there as they are put to sleep to end their suffering.

    I would expect more from an institute of higher learning yet sadly, that is not the case.

  9. Alex
    Posted March 11, 2009 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Lisa and Christina,
    Thank you both for your continued commentary on this issue. Your passion is appreciated as is the fact that you are bringing forward other important issues and ideas to be considered.

    Christina, while you make a valid point in stating that you have to consider the consequences of what you write when publishing, it is also true that it comes down to each and every reader to decide how they will react to what they read. Suggesting that everyone who reads this article will go out and begin to kill rabbits without any knowledge of the issue is akin to suggesting that anyone who reads the platform of a given political party will take everything they hear without questioning it or reflecting on why it was written and then just go ahead and vote for that party without any further thought. The article aims to point out a valid issue which is that there is a large non-native species population on campus which may have negative effects on the natural local ecosystem.
    I personally really appreciate your mentioning of zoonotic diseases because I would not necessarily have considered that right off the bat. I think you make a very valid point there.
    As for the reference to ‘killing pets for food,’ this is also not what is being suggested by the article. I agree very strongly with you that in this country we have the ability raise ethically and humanely produced meat and that this is a priority both in terms of animal rights and from an environmental perspective.
    I appreciate that you bring light to the fact that killing a rabbit cannot be done by someone who does not know what they are doing, as this would likely end in an unwanted result.
    The one thing to keep in mind when reading the article is that it, like any article, was published for a reason which was to bring attention to the issue of non-native species on the campus and also to gaining food from non-industrial sources. The goal of bringing light to the difficulty for rabbits being dumped as a non-native species seems in line with your goal of stopping this dumping of domestic animals. It would be ideal for this problem to be dealt with at the source, such as in pet stores, and hopefully this article will bring light to this issue in a way that will promote that goal.

    Thank you as well for your comment.
    One point that I would like to mention is that Abe’s article does not have a goal of stopping ‘costly damage’ to the UVic landscape but rather to restore the campus to its natural state. My interpretation is that the article is not concerned about the financial cost of the rabbit population but rather about the strain on the natural ecosystem and on the rabbits that are presumably not accustomed to living in it.
    In response to your comment that, “These poor animals suffer torment & torture…..none of which they asked for,” I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the article does not refer in the least to torment or torture, but rather to the polar opposite. It refers to being as humane as possible, as expressed in the comment containing info from Abe above.

    It is very encouraging to see such passionate discussion and to see that ideas can be shared in this forum toward the end goal of finding a solution that is ideal for both the rabbits and the ecosystem in question.
    Thank you again for commenting on the article! It is so great to know that we live in a place where discussion and sharing our ideas in whatever medium that may be is not hindered, but rather sanctioned and protected so that we can collaboratively share our knowledge and viewpoints.


  10. Robin
    Posted March 11, 2009 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    As Alex has said, it is good we live in a society where discussion and sharing of information is allowed. But the bunnies are on the losing side no matter which way you look at it and it is mankind that put them in this unfair predicament. As I suggested before, perhaps concerned UVic individuals would like to formulate some kind of plan to assist the rabbit population in the most humane way possible by working with your local animal authorities, raising funds for organizations such SARS (bet everybody has some bottles), lobbying the government/agencies to address the initial problem at the pet store/breeder level with mandatory spey/neuter and rabbit education. I shudder, Easter is coming and a month later more poor bunnies will be dumped by misinformed people thinking, “they will be fine in the woods/park, just fine.”

  11. Posted March 11, 2009 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    I fully agree with concept non-industrial sources of food….it’s a new idea and I have never heard of it before. I will say I am a vegetarian but rooted in reality enough to know that people will not stop eating meat andyes, the above stated idea is a great alternative to factory farming.
    As for the comment on the landscping I was not suggesting the purpose was to save the UVioc landscape…..again my comment came with no background.
    We have been through this issue with various municipalities who want to cull feral rabbit populations because they are destroying park land, school yards or agricultural areas.
    Again, the solution is to cull vs changing the by-laws. We had lobbied them in the past to the plight of the feral rabbits but everything fell on deaf ears until it hit their farmers or parks board in the pockets….then action had to be taken, something had to be done…..a cull.
    Your article sparked passion in me because I see daily the result of peoples cruelty to these animals who were dumped.
    I agree in free speech and people can not control what the reader takes away, my fear is that there is already abuse of these animals on the UVic campus that most people do not know about and that an article such as this might just plant the seed in a few minds (not everyone that I realize) – but I do fear for the few who then do set out to cause intential harm.
    To be honest, even good press about them will bring out the radical people who had their attention brought to rabbits being on campus by an article and then intentionally set out to do them harm.
    We do see the end result of what some think is a fun prank and thus I guess that is where I go into panic mode when I read an article like the one done by Abe.
    I also shudder to think of a white blue eyed rabbit or a lop eared rabbit, clearly not marked as a wild food type animal being bashed against the ground, hung up, gutted & then consumed.
    Thank you for allowing us our say on this article.

  12. Jem
    Posted March 11, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    I appreciate the comments that have been shared already, so I’ll try not to rehash anything too far. Lisa and Christina have more than covered my original points.

    I will add though that I work for one of the businesses that advertised in this publication, and the rabbit article has definitely stirred up some discussion within our social circles. Our stores are not completely animal friendly, but many of us are vegetarian to some degree (with a few vegans too), and we’ve been known to promote “vegetarianism as a form of environmentalism” in the past. It probably goes without saying that not one of us had anything funny to say about it. Despite the “tongue in cheek” style the author may have intended, vegetarians are the last people to think killing animals could be funny.

    I don’t speak for our whole business, so these are more my personal thoughts. As advertisers, we respect the publications right to print their view point (we would never want encroach on anybodies free speech, especially in a student written publication). Having said that though, we also need to be selective about whether our message matches the message of the publications we advertise in. Although the Essence is an “eco-publication”, it doesn’t seem that all your values match ours. We’ll definitely need to re-visit our interest in advertising with the Essence in the future.

  13. Bugs
    Posted March 11, 2009 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Get a sense of humour!!

  14. Robin
    Posted March 11, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Humour does not involve killing animals, blessed be those that do all they can do to help them, get on board, Bug. Something to add to your resume.’

  15. S
    Posted March 11, 2009 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

    This article is a sad embarrassment for our university. We have already seen enough abuse, maltreatment and disrespect towards these animals. This article will likely encourage more of it. Shame on you all.

  16. Katie
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    The people who will take that article seriously and attempt to kill those animals will most likely fail in the area of “killing the animal instantly” and cause more harm than anything. That article shows a huge lack of responsibility on the ESSA’s part and will disgrace Uvic’s reputation.

  17. Elaine
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 1:10 am | Permalink

    I agree with S completely. As an animal rights activist that sees how hard the animal groups work to help abused and neglected animals everyday with very little money, shame on you for suggesting more abuse. This article is not suggesting anything with much thought than a quick answer to a complicated question.

    Spaying and neutering, not dumping and then culling and killing is the lesson that has to be learned. These rabbits are mostly dumped pets and as a person who feeds colonies of feral cats and works with people who spend countless hours catching and rereleasing or finding good homes, this is disturbing.

    Humour, you have to be a sick individula to find humour in any of this article.

    I hope people look closer at the large amount of terrible animal abuse that goes on and see that we as people need to help creatures that cannot speak for themselves.

    Shame on the editor of this paper for printing this.

  18. Percy
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    The rabbit article was really tasteless, not funny at all to an animal lover. I had two house rabbits, spending a total of 20 years living with a litterbox trained bunny in the house. Just substitute the word “dog” for rabbit in that article and see how many people laugh. Trap the rabbits and take them to a rescue where they can find a home. There are many chapters of the House Rabbit Society in the U.S. that could help. I encourage some of you who want to help the rabbits to contact them.

  19. Heike
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    Hello Everyone,
    I appreciate all the comments we have received so far.
    I think that at this point, it is vital to take step back and realize the different positions that everyone is coming from, and possibly the different contexts from which people speak.
    For myself, I cannot and do not speak for the university as a whole, but the rabbit debate has been ongoing and a continual topic of debate especially in classes I’ve taken and among people in the environmental studies department. When I saw this article, I slotted it into the various other comments I have heard raised in addressing the issue of rabbits on campus. One of the wonderful things about Environmental Studies is that it is very interdisciplinary, and so I know that many aspects of this debate have spread across campus (or at least, I have spread it among friends from many different faculties and backgrounds). Furthermore, as a resident on campus for the past three years, seeing these rabbits on a day to day basis, seeing the damage they do, occasionally having seen one crushed by a car, or munched on by a hawk, has given me a much different perspective on this issue, one, I think, that has exposed me to both the plusses and minuses of having these rabbits on campus.
    My apologies for not having had the foresight for providing more of this kind of context for the rabbit debate for readers outside of the UVic community (if that is even fair, perhaps it is the little community that I interact with on a daily basis?). In this way, I think, it this has become very much to feel like the isolated, ivory tower/bubble that a university setting can be. This is the first time I have put on a project like this, and I was very excited to connect people from various facets across campus to put together a project like this, and I was simply thrilled with the many contributions on various environmental issues that were presented and compiled for the ESSENCE Spring 2009 issue.

    Now, I cannot speak to exactly how the rabbits got here, but the fact is: there are many, many rabbits on campus and they procreate like crazy, a fact that has been pointed out by several readers. This is problematic for several reasons, which is mostly what the rabbit debate tries to address. There is, however, no clear cut answer as to how to deal with this issue.

    Now, I would highly encourage people to avoid making personal attacks to the holders of various opinions. Rather, I encourage critical engagement with this restoration issue, and I pose the question:
    What can we do to deal with these rabbits? I definitely think it is totally irresponsible for us as human beings to completely leave them alone, but neither is it socially acceptable, nor fair to the rabbits to cull them outright. (The issue is not as simple as this, but I think this is representative, in brief of both possible sides of this debate; I will not get into it more here.) So what can we do? How do we move forward in addressing this issue?

    Put in this context, I think it is easier to see where the article “Cook up a Pot of Rabbit Restoration Stew” fits in. (Perhaps it can be seen as a modern, local equivalent to Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”, which was incredibly satirical and controversial, but also raised a bigger, background issue, which in the context of the people it affected, was clearly understood. Also, Noam Chomsky has a great, objective few words to say about Freedom of Expression and how varying points of view can come into conflict; check it out at: . It’s very short, but informative.)

    Given this, let’s put our heads together, get creative, take a positive stance on all the energy the article raised about this issue, and try to come up with a solution for addressing this issue.

    Above all, please, let’s transcend tossing stones from one side of the fence to the other. This does not move the discussion forward in any way.

    Sincerely yours,
    Heike Lettrari

  20. Elana, Vancouver
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    I am angered that a so-called environmental group is so hypocritical as to not protect the image of rabbits.
    Anybody that would take a humorous approach to the situation needs to get some morals called compassion. A brain would help as well.
    It is ridiculous that people are so self-centred that they can’t consider the well-being of innocent, charming, clever and underestimated animals.
    Don’t judge until you’ve ever lived with one and afforded it respect with the attention and freedom it deserves.
    What a sad student society newsletter if the only way it can receive attention is at the expense of these beloved rabbits.
    They should be promoting compassion, not perpetuating animal cruelty.

  21. Kim
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    As an alumni of UVic, this article has, quite frankly, made me ashamed to be associated with this university. I am an english major, and I did read “A Modest Proposal” several times over those four years, not to mention in high school, but I have to point out the obviously overlooked fact that that writing WAS a satire. The recipe that has been printed doesn’t even come close to satire. It doesn’t even bear the distinction of being an article, in which case you might have a chance at defending it, but it is a RECIPE. I completely agree with free speech, but it is also up to the publishers to account for Quality. This ‘recipe’ was likely published only to create controversy and gain publicity.

    After three years of living on campus and one off, I have been well aware of the urgent need to deal with the rabbit situation at UVic. I spent four years witnessing the atrocities on these animals – from drunken residents spray painting and racing the poor rabbits, to residents taking in cute babies for a whole semester, meaning well but taking poor care of them in dorm rooms and then rereleasing them when the semester was over or the rabbit grew larger and was no longer ‘cute’ – to actually speaking with people who DID in fact kill and eat these rabbits. Not to mention the many rabbits I witnessed in poor health, some of which I came across later dead. There have been many studies done on the best and most humane way to cull this rabbit population. If your publication truly wanted to address this issue, you would have published one of those reports, not some silly recipe aimed only at stirring controversy. Step it up a notch and make us want to support your publication, not shy away from it in shame.

  22. Billy Bob
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    we still have a problem.
    Actually 2 problems.
    1) The over population of rabbits (not bunnies)
    2) Useless people sitting around talking about a problem and nothing getting done – future politicians perhaps?

    Just eat the rabbits if you want.

  23. Lynn Crandon
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I would just like to applaud Christina and Lisa for their comments. Killing an animal is not humorous in any way, and I found the whole article offensive and in bad taste. These poor little creatures are dumped pets (or descendants of those pets) that are living terrible lives — all because ignorant and uncaring people dump them with no thought for the suffering they might endure. So your solution is to suggest that people randomly go out and try to kill them? I hope I do not know anyone who would feel anything less than sickened at killing a defenseless abandoned pet with their own hands. This article is just another example of how so many individuals put so little value in the lives of animals. I work in animal rescue and regularly see the result of people’s cruelty and indifference toward animals. If you did this work for just a week, you wouldn’t find this article anything but sickening.

    Yes, the rabbit population is a problem at UVIC. The public need to take some responsibility for this, as it is irresponsible pet owners dumping their pets that have fed this problem. Killing these poor creatures is not the answer. It is time that an en mass spay neuter program was put into practice. This morning I heard the SPCA speak up about this terrible article and to advocate that spay and neuter is the only way to deal with this problem. It is my hope that the SPCA will now step up and be a community leader in initiating a spay/neuter program for the rabbits at UVIC. The small rescue groups in Victoria would certainly provide all the support they could with trapping and transport to vets. it should be noted that there is also a huge feral cat problem in Victoria and it would be wonderful if the SPCA would get on board with a trap neuter release program for the cats as well.


    Lynn Crandon
    Greater Victoria Animals’ Crusaders
    Help Us Save Animals!

  24. Alex
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    As a response to the most recent comments:

    Robin, I agree completely that there is no humour in the killing of animals. If I may make an interpretation of Bugs’ comment, I suggest that he may have been encouraging us to look at the article as a satire aimed to draw attention to the plight of the rabbits and of the local natural ecosystem so that people will realize there is a problem and deal with it responsibly. In all honesty, it is a positive thing that this article has sparked this discussion forum because it can, with these respectful and well thought posts, help us to collaborate and find a solution to the problem. Rather than debate, let’s realize that none of us want to see harm come to animals and that we all want to see what is best for the rabbits and the crucial natural local ecosystem and collaborate in this forum to find a solution. We all have intelligent points to make here, so let’s bring them together to find a solution rather than a problem.

    S, I encourage you also to look at this article a second time and consider it to be a satire aimed to bring discussion of the issue of the rabbits and this ecosystem to the table. The article does not condone or promote mistreatment of animals in any way and Abe is quoted in a comment from Heike above stating that he aims to completely avoid any suffering.

    Katie, I appreciate your comment a lot. It is true that anyone who would read this article and take it literally would likely not know how to kill a rabbit humanely. This is why I suggest again that the article will not result in people actually making rabbits stew, but rather in people thinking critically about the issue and standing up to make a difference on the matter and find a solution.

    Elaine, thank you for your suggestion of a possible solution to the problem. I encourage you to see the article less as a suggestion for a quick fix to a complicated problem, but rather a way of drawing attention to this complicated problem so that it can be dealt with effectively. Truly by even seeing this discussion forum so full of great comments, we are seeing that the article is not causing people to go out and treat animals inhumanely, but rather that it is drawing together intelligent people with good ideas to collaboratively help the rabbits. As an ESSA member, I want to see the animals treated justly and I want to see the ecosystem restored on campus. Let’s use this forum to collaborated and make it happen.

    Percy, I appreciate your idea of replacing the word rabbit with the word dog in the discussion. Of course the word dog bring about the emotions of attachment to a household pet or a friendly animal, but truly if there were a feral dog population on campus, it would also be a problem needing to be dealt with. The case is that we are dealing with rabbits. They are pets, they are wild animals, they are food for some, but no matter what cultural or social status we attach to them, they are still a population that is not healthy for themselves and that is not healthy for the ecosystem to which they have been irresponsibly introduced. It is truly a positive thing that the article brings up strong emotions in regards to the rabbits as hopefully this will encourage thought on the matter and a proactive solution. While we do have certain attachments to seeing the rabbits around, we must also look at what is best for them. Is it best for them to live in what is not their natural landscape and in such a dense concentration that disease can spread? There is an issue at hand and I applaud the article for bringing the issue forward and I applaud everyone commenting for being proactive and suggesting solutions.

    Elana, I thank you as well for your comments and also encourage you in a similar way as I have encouraged other comment posters to see this article not as a suggestion for a recipe, but as a suggestion to see that there is a problem and to do something about it. This is exactly what we can do through communication on this forum.

    Kim, thank you for bringing attention to current issues with mistreatment of animals on campus. Please consider that the article does not promote any such mistreatment but rather promotes critical thinking about this issue. In any case, Abe states in quotes in a comment from Heike above that there is no promotion of mistreatment of animals in his article. A recipe can be just as satirical as any other form of publication. Think of modern art: objectively it is often a seemingly random compilation of shapes and forms, but it is open to may interpretations. It can make a statement about war, about social inequality, about feminism, and all this in spite of its form being quite arbitrary before analysis. So please think of the article in a similar light. It is in the form of a recipe, but when interpreted and analyzed, it becomes a call-out to do something about the rabbits, about the degrading local native landscape, about industrial meat production, about a vast array of problems. Like any publication, the recipe inspires thought.

    Thank you Billy Bob for your comment. It is valid that many people are passive about this and many other problems. Hence it is positive that there is such passionate discussion about this issue on the forum.

    Lynn, I encourage you to go beyond the attachment that our society has to rabbits as pets and to see them as you would birds, rats, foxes, cows, and whatever other animal. The fact is that the population of rabbits is unhealthy for themselves and for the native ecosystem and that something must be done. Please do read the article again considering it as a way to spark passionate discussion on the issue rather than as a literal suggestion for how to deal with the problem. Thank you also for suggestion a positive solution to the problem. Perhaps this forum could be a place to coordinate a solution with all the interested parties.

    In all, I feel like a bit of a broken record, but I would like to reiterate the main points I have covered in my interpretation of these responses:
    -There is a problem at hand and the article as a satire has drawn attention to the issue, which is positive
    -We are all informed, passionate, intelligent people who have a lot to contribute to the creation of a solution
    -Energy is better spent creating a solution
    -We have a place to discuss how to create a solution
    So… let’s collaborate and figure out a way to deal with this issue in a way that serves every being’s best interests.

  25. Timothy
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    There is no distinction between pet bunnies and the rabbits at UVic. They are all domestic “pet bunnies” that have been abandoned by ignorant pet owners. Anyone who sees this as an acceptable solution should imagine their own pet, be it a dog, cat, horse, bird etc being in this situation and imagine some sick person luring them in and bashing their head to the ground. How is this acceptable and not considered abuse? It’s not and anyone found doing such a thing should be charged with animal abuse and not allowed to own animals of any kind. Furthermore, rabbits are wonderful, intelligent pets who are easily trainable and very loving. People that get pleasure from overpowering a helpless animal are severely mentally disturbed and need to think of where this domination attitude is stemming from within themselves. Have your pet spayed or neutered and stop thinking of feral domestic animals as wildlife.

  26. Pat
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Let me be careful and precede my comments by stating that I consider myself a deep ecologist (if I had to pigeon-hole myself), and have worked in advocacy myself. So I hope you dear readers do not misconstrue what I am about to say.

    It seems to me the real plague upon Uvic isnt’ the rabbits, it’s cheap sentimentalism and anthropomorphising. No one disputes the bunnies are adorable, but this isn’t a very good basis for a philosophy on deep ecology or animal rights. First, we are all well aware that the SPCA’s position is not a viable long-term solution to deal with the rabbit infestation. That much is self-evident. To spin their position on its head, what is so “humane” about capturing, neutering and spaying, and then enslaving the animals as pets…even if this were possible on a mass scale? Imagine for a moment that we are not talking about cute bunny rabbits, but rather a rat infestation. How would you feel then? What is “humane”, is of course also subjective. There is an argument to be made that a rabbit cull is more humane, and that taking advantage of the resource to feed the needy is even more humane.

    The point is, and to be perfectly blunt, all too often animal rights positions are superficial and rooted in a sentimentalized view of nature held by urban elites whose connection with nature is based on little more than wilderness tourism.

    The cold reality is nothing short of an organized cull would solve the problem. I’m sorry that the notion of killing rabbits and perhaps even feeding them to starving students or the homeless disturbs some people. But maybe those people have simply watched too many Disney movies.

  27. Posted March 12, 2009 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Rabbits inhabit that *fuzzy grey void* between being classified as a domestic animal or being classified as livestock – thus allowing them to receive such an apathetic response wrt to their plight.

    There are wild rabbits and domestic rabbits.
    Wild rabbits are that, wild and have a niche in the ecosystem.

    Domestic rabbits are that and have a niche in our homes as pets (yes, I know that too is another completely differnt debate in itself) and some breeds of domestic rabbits also fall into the area of livestock.
    These animals are specifically bred for food or other commercial products or as lad animals. This I believe is the reason we get such a varied response on how to deal with this *problem*.

    If it were a feral dog population on campus, I GAURENTEE something would be done….the SPCA, the city and the university would ACT. Beacuse it is a rabbit who people think is a wild animal – they think the probelm isn’t such a big deal and *no one* acts.

    Action occurs only when people think they may be at risk from disease, the landscape is affected or animals are blatantly tormented. No matter what city this occurs in and believe me, it occurs in all cities, the rabbit population is ignored until it affects humans.
    I fully agree they should not be out there and it is a problem. I however view it from the rabbit perspective….the fear, the hunger the danger. Gardens can be replaced but a life cannot.

    Dogs are eaten in other countries and so are cats. I truly believe if we changed the *recipe* up a bit, many more people would find the article offensive. Perhaps satire in the face of a true problem really isn’t the best aproach? If people weren’t already hurting them, if we knew none were being intentionally injured etc, then perhaps we could enjoy the humor but sadly that is not the case.

    Killing/culling is not the answer because the next year the same thing will happen. Rabbits can breed every month. Cities like to act reactively vs proactively…..why not ban sales of rabbits when there are so many already unwanted….why not put in a spay/neuter bylaw….and on and on.

    Due to the fact that the domestic rabbit falls into a multi-purpose category we then see multiple views on how they should be treated.

    If the UVic rabbits we truly a WILD population of wild rabbits, then there would be no huge debate on people trapping and eating them etc or methods to control a population so to maintain ecological balance. Being a vegetarian myself, I would find it distasteful but reality is what it is. I am sure nature would also balance itself out with an increase in predators etc….perpetuating another whole host of problems ;-)

    This however is not the case…..these rabbits are clearly domestic….they do not have the instincts to survive and are no match for drunken students or would be outdoors men who want a taste of rabbit.

    Satire or not, we do see what happens to them as a result no matter what sort of publicity they receive. We are always very careful when we get media attention because any good we get from it, there also comes along some elemnet of bad (more people wanting to *give* us their pets or people who set out to intentionally harm them). we have rabbits found in elementary school yard fire pits with burns and their ears cut off by children….rabbits being thrown and punched by drunk students…

    As for *waiting* for something to be done about it…..I find that a flippant comment as we work daily to do something about it. I think if you want to comment on something, then maybe do a bit of research into the area so you can make an informed comment. Lots is being done by many but because rabbits fall into the grey void……our efforts fall onto deaf ears. As well some of the comments here attest to the type of reactions we get from people when we do try to change things.

    Rabbit rescue really is fighting a losing battle. We need cities to step up and help us to make a change.
    I appreciate the thinking that any publicity is good publicity but really in this case, it isn’t helpful.

  28. Disgusted
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Your article on the rabbits is disgusting…You should be ashamed and I hope that anyone caught doing this to the rabbits is criminally charged.

  29. Posted March 12, 2009 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    In response to Pat, (yes, I am reacting vs stepping back and taking a breath), then why not go out & kill all the stray dogs & cats….and feed them to homeless and needy students.

    It’s done in other countries so why not here? Other countries eat dogs & cats…..really what is the difference?

  30. Pat
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Lisa – fine by me. Fine by hungry people too, or so I would imagine. I hear the food banks are always struggling.

  31. Pat
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Sorry, i sounded flippant just now, what I meant is, is it a “problem” or an untapped resource? And if it’s a resource, then do we want to eliminate it by banning rabbits as pets? Should we even be euthanizing unwanted pets? Are we not wasting a perfectly good resource?

  32. Posted March 12, 2009 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I understand the logic Pat and yes I guess if they were to be culled, it is a waste of the bodies….despite it completely grossing me out ;-)
    I struggle with that thought.

    But then where do you draw the line….the local animal shelters always ask us for help when they are over run…..again, do they euthanize (now a different term being used, which is in itself an interesting debate) if we can’t assist and then call the food bank? Why would that not be acceptable but culled animals from campus being acceptable? Why stop at rabbits if cats & dogs are a source of food as well.

    This is where the problem lies….rabbits are in the grey zone….pets for some…food source for some…confusion over wild species vs domestic or feral.

    Frustrating to say the least. Complicated….convoluted….overwhelming……

  33. B-Man
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Well,eveyone has agreed to disagree. There is still one problem. Human error. The rabbits are NOT native to the area of concern. Can anyone tell me what is the real concern? Over population of a rabbit/rodent/pest/pet/….or the reaction to comments to how to kill a rabbit? Rather then opposing comments, what are the resolution comments? First of all, the rabbits did not want to be there in the first place. So…are there plans to deal with this?
    1. What is the estamated population of the the “Rabbits”
    2. What is the future “projection of rabbit population?”
    3. By what means is the “best” solution that everyone “AGREES” with stop/reduce future population/reproduction of these rabbits.
    a) Live traps
    b) Poisoning
    c) Culling
    4. If live traps are used, what follow up is required?
    a) everyone agrees and supports adoption/spaying/nuetering
    b) “Livestock” is sent to a “farm”.
    5. COST INCURRED…everyone agrees a budget to be set for this.
    6. Education of Campus that rabbits are a problem and are being dealt with in the most HUMANE way that everyone has agreed to…such as live traps/poisoning/cull..
    7. Once rabbits are “dealt with” in the most ‘HUMANE WAY” follow up is required to monitor future displacement of rabbits/pest/rodents/pets.
    8. If this issue resurfaces in the future…a workable and managable plan proven to work can be used/modified as required…
    I hope the problem is resolved in a manner everyone agrees to. It appears the rabbits are not the problem….human error by releasing same into the wild has caused an out break of concern and emotion.

  34. Posted March 12, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Wonder if BC campuses have anything to say about the hideous seal slaughter about to start in Canada. That bloodbath makes the worst of the rabbit issue look like fun and games in a nursery school. 330,000 seals, babies, are about to be brutally killed, and the Canadian government supports this with tax money! The furs are banned in the civilized world and can only be sold to dictatorships such as China with its dismal record on both animal and human rights. Shameful.

    As for rabbits, IF, repeat IF, some “culling”, or killing, of grossly overpopulated abandoned DOMESTIC PETS – not wild hares – is necessary it should be done by trained professional groups closely supervised by assorted agencies, not by individuals. It should not be supervised by the Canadian government as it supports the seal slaughter and cannot be trusted. (Nor can any government, for that matter!).

    How so many rabbits were abandoned I do not know. Such actions are are crimes in many places. How so few were rescued I do not know. Why they were allowed to breed so quickly I do not know. I understand rabbits are prolific, but a situation this bad should never have been allowed to occur.

    If, repeat IF, there is no alternative and some rabbits need to be humanely put down – not beaten to death by goons the way baby seals are in Canada – I would have no problem with them being processed for food, but only as a temporary sad necessity.

  35. Christina Barnes
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Dear Pat
    As a student who once plagued the University with my sentimentalism and anthromorphism I thought I’d respond to your deep or should I say “old” ecologist view.

    The act of killing an abandoned animal or “stray” animal on University campus is illegal whether it be furry or scaled, rat, dog, snake or rabbit. In the past, students of UVic have been caught and charged with cruelty towards these rabbits because of their lack of knowledge of how to humanely kill an animal.

    A cull would not be a permanent solution. The numbers would rebound again as the influx of dumped rabbits continues . They are prolific breeders and are induced ovulaters. Their destructive behavior of digging underground also prevents them from being killed off. We need laws to prevent pet stores from selling rabbits and/or selling intact animals as well as prosecuting “dumpers”. In England they have done many things to kill rabbits without much luck and in fact did more harm by introducing other non-native species. Can’t we learn from history?

    Although I do think rabbits are “cute” I do not like seeing them on the campus. It is a life of suffering. They suffer from diseases, dehydration, loose dogs, other territorial rabbits, drunk students and people attempting to kill a rabbit for a meal and failing. If a cull was a solution to stop this suffering we wouldn’t be having this discussion. However, all I see happening is a cull and then a cull again and again…… What would be the point besides to kill.

    Too often people who are ecologists or enviromentalists are the same people feeding wildlife and trying to “fix” the problem by adding and subtracting animals and species like a math problem. Add some wolfs, subtract some wolves, add some mongoose subtract some squirrels….

    The issue of whether it is more humane to keep a rabbit as a pet or to kill it is debateable. I guess it depends on the condition or quality of life of the animal. I have asked the same question of labratory animals kept in research and dogs kept out on chains.

    We are not a third world country where we must eat our pets for protein and we have the ability to make decisions on what and how we eat. Although we have a homeless problem feeding them diseased and pesticide ridden rabbits is not a solution. There is a parasite that stray rabbits commonly carry which the rabbit picks up from raccoons and their waste. I would not like to see anyone including the homeless get sick from this parasite.

  36. Pat
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    First, your comment about “third world” and the implication that dogs and cats are eaten out of necessity and not choice is eurocentric, and that’s putting it politely. Aside from the strange asumptions implicit in that statement, is the fact that there are elements of the so-called “third world” right here at home. These categories are colonial, and do not have much substance beyond.

    Second, okay, my view is “old”. So what? At the heart of the debate over stewardship and anthropocentric view is this: where does the distinction between “natural state” begin and end? What is a resource and what is not a resource? You have not addressed the basic canundrum. This is why we have environmental philosophy. There are questions that have never been answered and I could care less what view is in fashion for the moment. Besides, almost all deep ecologist would disagree with my position anyways. I hardly represent the standard in deep ecology, what with advocating turning abondoned pets into a resource and all. But deep ecology is about asking those pesky questions about how we really define things and why.

  37. Posted March 12, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Ok – foolishly we have taken your bait.

    This story has made it’s way to the media an even to other provinces.

    You’ve garnered publicity and managed to provoke a response from those who are sensitive to the issue….all the while making light of it all.

    Onto the next kill Abe!

  38. Christina Barnes
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Philosophy is not going to lead to a solution.

    I will not comment on your eurocentric comment only to say perhaps you should watch more disney movies.

  39. Pat
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Ha ha. Did I mention i work in media?

  40. Pat
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Christina, what the heck? I give you a perfectly reasoned response and you let me down. I thought we had a good thing going there for a moment.

  41. Posted March 12, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    A few comments generated from the online Vanc Sun… do we really think a few rabbits WON’T die as a result of this article? Again, congratulations….you get exposure, rabbits die and all for what?

    Allright, Lets start a annual Uvic bunny massacre day. Make it the day after Easter so we get the choclate too!

    I’m going to UVIC and fix me a stew.

    actualy breaking a rabbits neck has always been the fastest most humane way to kill them

  42. Pat
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Cue bugs bunny opera theme music: “kill tha wabbit, kill tha wabbit…”

  43. Robin
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Pat, you are being nasty and non-productive, hopefully Alex will be on here soon to moderate things. This is NOT helping the rabbits at all. I would think that views like yours are in the minority (thank goodness) and once again I implore people to be part of the solution and don’t add to the problem!!! There used to be petting zoos in Victoria, go find one and get some peace in yourself.

  44. Rose
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Nice try Heike. I’m afraid it is a little too late for justification at this point, there are too many agencies going to be involved with this now. Shame on anyone who puts to paper an idea and instructions for killing an animal. In the wrong hands this method will be pure torture and beyond cruelty. So where does it end, rabbits first, then quail for a really nice dinner, and oh my what about the deer population and the destruction they do…….by the way Finnerty Gardens seems to flourish extremely well with so many destructive rabbits hanging out. Shame on the whole bunch of you who support this irresponsible idea. Live and let live.

  45. Posted March 12, 2009 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    >> Cue bugs bunny opera theme music: “kill tha wabbit, kill tha wabbit…” <<

    How juvenile.

    Yes, where is the moderation? I am still waiting to see my previous post get actually listed.

  46. S
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Abuse and maltreatment should NEVER be tolerated, whether it be towards animals, people, or the environment. There is nothing humourous or satirical about this article.

    “Abe” next time you feel like exercising your satirical genius please consider doing something productive…. like thinking up a more appropriate, useful and admirable solution to the feral rabbit problem. As an environmental studies newsletter this is something that you should be striving for…

    This article is so ridiculous I can only believe that it was intended to draw attention and readership to this publication. Once again this is a pathetic disgrace to the university and I am embarrassed to be associated with it. I will not be reading this newsletter or participating on this board again and I will encourage others to do the same.

  47. Pat
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    So I take it, challenging the assumption that killing the rabbits is inhumane and cruel is not permitted?

  48. Pat
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t realize this conversation wasn’t a democratic exchange of ideas. In my attempt to challenge the basic assumptions of this very one-sided discussion, I have offered a solution that would be perfectly productive and even arguably humane by the predominant ethic of many cultures. Apparently, just not this one. In return I have received reactive, unrestrained inflammatory rhetoric. This leaves me with the conclusion that there must be some in-group/out-group rules around this community that I am not aware of, and that quite obviously certain ideas are not permitted in this forum. But lastly, the most haneous error in the advocacy community is evidenced in this blog: the failure to have a sense of humour and not take ourselves so seriously. It is why so many activists I know have succumbed to the high burn out rate. It is because these issues are so serious that we must laugh. I pity the fool who would attempt to survive on a sense of richteousness alone. Good day,

  49. Robin
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think rabbits have a sense of humour either when it comes to their lives. And quite frankly they are not getting a proper diet when then live on the UVic campus. To berate them without putting yourself in their perspective (yes I have 2 house rabbits and they ARE intelligent), go and scrounge for food tonight Pat. Laugh at that and it is
    righteousness and heinous, not whatever you put so you still have a lot to learn buddy.

  50. Pat
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Yes a typo. I’m sure there’s more. Why must online forums always degenerate into a mud-slinging contest? I am merely offering a dissenting voice, an alternative perspective. I am sorry you feel that is not acceptable and that you must brand me as a dangerous Other. I am disappointed there is no interest in being a little self-reflexive about some of the basic notions behind our work as animal rights advocates. All I see being offered here is cultural imperialism and thought-police tactics. Honestly, this leaves me quite depressed. I had no idea the animal rights community in Victoria had this kind of indignant consensus. The world is made up of countless perspectives and interests. You’re not going to get 100% consensus, and I have done nothing more than to try an add that voice into this forum. Your reactions speak for themselves. If you must call a moderator (read: censor), then do so. It is a sad state of affairs.

  51. Rose
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    A major point is being missed here. For example, I would think that most intelligent people would agree that even on a democratic forum it is dangerous to give instructions on how to build a bomb. As it is in giving instructions on how to kill an animal. Do you get it now? It is not rocket science to see where this can lead some misguided sociopath. And one doesn’t have to be a bleeding heart to see that common sense, which unfortunately seems to be lacking on this forum. Don’t ever forget that not all individuals who read your articles are balanced!

  52. Mmmmm
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    I know what I’m having for dinner tonight!

  53. Posted March 12, 2009 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    Pat, let’s term it this way…..I have worked in a hospital and yes, there is black humor but I tell you we would *not* post an article about it… would be unacceptable. We’d be fired and perhaps even taken into court by a patient or their families.

    Black humor is necessary to keep sane, especially when one works in environments that foster such humor. But posting humor about killing a prey species outside the environment it was intended for, is sad and for myself seeing the end result of failed attempts of killing these rabbits or just the pure abuse/neglect they suffer, I really struggle to find humor in it.
    Again you speak to advocacy burnout and group everyone in the same boat. You know none of what we do nor how long we have been in it….so how can you comment on our reaction? You don’t like to be chastized for what you say and you want your opinion heard, well there are other opinions as well.
    Many feel the article will generate a positive outcome for these animals…..have a look at the CanWest postings…..98% of them talk about how people will go out to find themselves a UVic rabbit.
    No domestic animal asked to be in the position they are in but just walking away from a problem doesn’t help it. We owe it to them to do the best by them since they are in a situation that we created for them.
    A quote by Antoine de Saint-Exupery captures the essence here – Many have forgotten this truth but you must not forget it. We remain responsible forever for what we have tamed.

  54. Corinne Okell
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    I think it is absolutely disgusting and inhumane with what is being done with the rabbits. It is animal cruelty as far as I am concerned. These little creatures have absolutely no defence!! I think the best solution is to round them up and have them neutered. I read in today’s newspaper that there is at least one veterinarian in town that is willing to do this for nothing and I am sure others would come on board. It is also so irresponsible for people to drop them off when they don’t want them anymore…..take them to the SPCA where they can at least be cared for in a humane way.

  55. G
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    This makes me sick to my stomach. I don’t know what it is about it that sickens me the most, though:

    a)The idea of using cruelty against animals as a “”"satire”"” (and I use the term lightly — there is no humour and no taste in joking about that)
    b) The certainty that this was not really a “”"joke,”"” but a gross, pathetic attempt at getting publicity for your sad little newsletter… (Congrats on that front, you got it)
    c) The text itself
    d) The fact that the editor from an environmentalist newsletter in a supposedly educated, civilized university campus, would allow this tasteless crud to make it to print
    e) All of the above.

    Rabbits are intelligent, fascinating little creatures and it’s not their fault that ignorant people are dumping them to fend for themselves in a big ugly world they’re not used to.

    You want to fix the problem? Start educating the ignorant. Post signs around campus, slot PSAs on CFUV reminding people that it’s cruel AND illegal to dump their pet bunnies on campus. Hit the problem at the root.

    And as for the gardens being “destroyed” Please. In the first place, the gardens were THRIVING the last time i was on campus. And, most importantly, what kind of sicko places ornamental plants over the lives of sentient creatures? By that standard, let’s go cull cats and dogs and squirrels, too. And birds. They eat seeds. Bad birds.

    And, by the by, I’m a first AND last time poster/reader.

    Good luck with your publicity stunt.

  56. Donald Atkin
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Oh for the…

    This is satire, people. Satire. Heike mentioned Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” earlier in the comments, and this was exactly what sprang to my mind when I first came across this story. A little background information. In 1729, Jonathan Swift wrote, anonymously, “A Modest Proposal: For Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland from Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Public”, or, just “A Modest Proposal”. In it, Swift proposed that the people of Ireland could alleviate their problems of overpopulation and economic impoverishment in one fell swoop by selling their children as food to aristocratic Englishmen. In the event that the Irish chose to kill and consume their own children, Swift suggested a number of preparation and cooking methods. The point of Swift’s manifesto was NOT to sincerely claim that the Irish should cannibalize their children. Rather, it attempted to bring to the attention of the British public the critical issue of the misery of the Irish people, a misery so terrible that somebody like Swift could propose cannibalism in loving detail and have people consider it a legitimate solution.

    The reaction of some people in this forum have validated the intentions of the authors of ESSENCE beyond their wildest dreams, I should imagine. The fact is, the rabbits on the UVic campus lead an extremely meager lifestyle and are a nuisance to the UVic administration, and they will almost certainly be culled unless there is a public outcry against such action. Hopefully, public outcry will prove a stepping-stone to a permanent solution to the rabbit problem that benefits both UVic and the rabbits. But how to generate such an outcry? Through a clear and direct homage to Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”, with the understanding that some people simply will not get it, and will create an almighty uproar in favor of the preservation of the rabbits under the delusion that students really are going to slaughter and devour the rabbits unless they personally intervene. To those people, I say: The ESSENCE has played you, and played you good. But all for a good cause, I should add. Bravo, ESSENCE. Bravo.

  57. Alaysha Hickman
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    I think the article entitled’ Cook up a Pot of Rabbit Restoration Stew’ is a disgusting display of how cruel we as humans can be. Has Abe LLoyd ever owned an animal as a pet? Or does he just like to hunt and eat them? Maybe he should put more thought into helping the local animal rescue groups catch and relocate these animals, or maybe write an article about the dumb-ass people who are the ones dumping their pet bunny’s at UVic because they are tired of them.
    Articles like these just show me how much today’s youth doesn’t give a crap about anything except itself.
    I hope Abe LLoyd never owns a pet, because it might end up being his lunch.

  58. John
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    The article is not satire and was not done “tongue-in-cheek.”

    To pretend it was is blatant spin.

    Ask the author if he was serious or if you can’t reach him, consider what he meant by writing his “passion is for wild edible foods, which he tries to regularly incorporate into his diet. ”

  59. Elana, Vancouver
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 1:31 am | Permalink

    Why do I have to live in a world with so many pathetic so-called humans? I shudder to accept this unelected truth every day. Before spitting out some lame opinion, so many people need to educate themselves on issues, get a clue, and build compassion within themselves. Most of the uncompassionate, self-centred twits commenting like they have a clue about the emotional lives of rabbits don’t have a single brain cell. In fact, if they did, they would know that rabbits are overwhelmingly easy to love. One of my rabbits would come running over to me every single time I called him, another rabbit would use his litter box perfectly, and yet another would give you kisses on your lips to get her veggie treats. However, most people wouldn’t know this ’cause they lack the experience and brain cells to have a clue. To all you people that don’t support the rabbits at UVic or anywhere else, go mend the sports fields and landscaping yourselves. Bury yourselves in the turf if you feel compelled. This way I don’t have to be exposed to your shameful stupidity.

  60. Elana, Vancouver
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    Oh, and two words for Abe: “Stew YOU!”

  61. Alex
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    Thank you everyone for your continued passion and interest in this issue. I again encourage collaboration in the forum between interested parties toward the goal of finding a solution. To read additional thoughts on the issue, please also see the posts on the Times Colonist blog on the article, found at

    One extra reminder is required here as well to keep this forum as a positive and free place to discuss ideas. This includes not turning the discussion into ‘mudslingning’ and also includes respectful language.
    For the most part this has been the case in all of your comments and this is greatly appreciated as it is this form of mature communication which leads to progress rather than regression.


  62. Posted March 13, 2009 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    You cannot compare using Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” satirical article to with is happening to feral rabbit colonies.
    I think all of the readers here are educated enough to understand satire and to appreciate it but really would the Irish people eat or sell their children to the British to consume….not likely. That is what makes it satirical.
    It is clear, it is sartical…it is funny.
    But in the case of the rabbits, *are* people eating them, *are* they injuring them, *are* they setting out to do them harm……of course they *ARE*.
    This isn’t artirical and to compare it to a Modest Proposal is a lame attempt of justifying the authors intent of the article.
    You have garnered the publicity you intended with this article so well done.

    PS – feral rabbit colony management is quite complicated. One cannot do trap/neuter/release as you would with a cat colony. Unaltered animals would rip apart the altered animals. There are many aspects to consider before implementing any program as such and what I find amusing is that no municipality has ever taken us up on our offer to advise how to manage one…..they always resort to a cull.

  63. Christina Barnes
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    This is not good publicity for UVic especially when enrollment is down and Malaspina is now Vancouver Island University. It’s also not good for advertisers of Essence.

    If Essence wanted to bring up and discuss the rabbit problem at UVic they could have done it in a much better way.

    “Come to UVic where you can catch, kill and eat your own rabbit!” is enough to make me look at another University especially one with smaller classroom sizes.

    The rabbits are a problem at UVic and its going to take everyone UVic, SPCA, rescue groups, volunteers and veterinarians to help. No organization can do it on their own. I’m ready to help. Are you?

  64. Cathy
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Great suggestion Christina, but I think you would be hard pressed to have anyone at Essence sign up to actually try and help the rabbits….that, as it is apparent, is hardly their intention.

    • Alex
      Posted March 13, 2009 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

      Cathy, I would like to encourage you to keep in mind that ESSENCE is an environmental publication which aims to discuss environmental issues. The article was written in the interest of finding a solution to a non-native population that is neither beneficial to itself nor to the native ecosystem which it now inhabits. The intention of the article was indeed to provoke thought on this issue and indeed it has done so. The article aims towards environmental restoration with absolutely no intention of or reference to poor treatment of the population. I encourage you to remember the environmental context of the article and also to view it with an open mind.

  65. Kelly
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    People are touching on some large issues, but appear to be simply jumping the gun and blaming the author.

    Talk of misguided sociopaths using info on preparing a rabbit for other things of a dubious nature? It’s quite simple to hurt someone or something if you want to; this isn’t going to spark that desire in someone, they likely already have it.

    You can take this article for what it’s worth. Black humor or otherwise. If you feel strongly enough for the safety of these innocent animals, group together and brainstorm a solution.

    • Alex
      Posted March 13, 2009 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for your constructive comment Kelly. It is indeed imperative that now that attention is focused on this issue that collaboration occur to find a solution that is fair to both the rabbit population and the native ecosystem.

  66. Greenling
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    I sincerely hope that all the people railing against this proposal are vegans. Because it’s no worse to eat a culled pest rabbit than it is to eat a steak.

  67. Cathy
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Trying to spark discussion in order to find solutions is one thing, but contributing to the perpetuation of violence towards animals, or any living being is simply careless and irresponsible. You really should stop trying to deny the harm – intentional or not, you have caused as the words written on the paper speak volumes, even under the guise of trying to find “environmental solutions.” I do have an open mind and am willing to accept thoughts, ideas, and concepts that promote love, tolerance, and good within our world. I was always taught that what you put out into the world is what you will receive back – good and bad.

    This piece of writing has left me with a sense of sadness. I feel this sadness for the groups that dedicate themselves to being the advocates of animals, only to have their efforts undermined by the likes of this thoughtless article. I feel sadness for being associated with a university that would allow such drivel to be printed, and lastly I feel sadness for all of your lack of humane enlightenment. I do believe that some of you, as you leave the university, mature, arrive in the real world, will feel a sense of shame and possibly even remorse for the flippancy of this article.

    Albert Schweitzer once said “Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.” Maybe we all need to heed those words, as they would certainly contribute to fulfilling a world that (most of us) would love to live in.

  68. Kelly
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    “convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.”

    Think about that for a minute. I see, as many others likely do judging by their posts, the validity of your angst. However, it’s enraging to see a group blindly tread on someone else’s idea because they are wed to an opposing belief. Keep in mind then that beliefs and ideas are very different.

    The supercilious group mentality that has been demonstrated here is neither pacifist or humane(no matter how sociopolitically acceptable it is). I’m afraid of my generation, a lack of purpose, leaving everybody with a lack of identity. That leaves many with a ferocious passion to prove their worth. This is fruitless until you can realize you, your opinions and that of those around you have inherent value. Even if nobody validates them.

  69. Georgia
    Posted March 16, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    First, I would like to mention I am a vegan.
    While I would never actually do this, I can’t say I disagree with it. How many of you eat meat? The meat you buy from Thrifty’s is very likely killed in an incredibly inhumane manner, contains more chemicals and anti-biotics than you can think, and wreaks devastating effects on the environment through the production and transportation of the animals.
    I feel as though simply because there is a face to the ‘bunnies’ and they are almost a marker of identity for Uvic, no one is actually considering that this is very VERY similar to the meat you ate for dinner last night. Only YOU didn’t actually have to kill and prepare the animal. You just got to conveniently buy it prepackaged from the nearest store.

    I would also like to point out the root of this article. If one has any knowledge about the incredibly negative effect the rabbits have on the native plant species one would know what a huge issue this is. Maybe killing them for stew isn’t the best or most friendly option, but something really does need to be done. And not that I can speak for Abe, I would like to say I believe this article was far more a commentary or conversation piece about the issue at hand. He wasn’t necessarily trying to convince the population at Uvic to start killing bunnies inbetween classes.

  70. Heike
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    If anyone’s interested, or remembers from a few years ago, this same issue arose with a very similar response. Here is an article pulled from the Martlet archives, written in 2004. (The Cover) (The Story).

    It’s interesting how things have and have not changed since then.

    Heike Lettrari

  71. Timothy
    Posted March 17, 2009 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    If UVic is so worried about their gardens, then why is there a GAPING, I repeat, G-A-P-I-N-G HOLE at the black coloured gate entrance to the Finnerty Gardens off University drive??? Is that to welcome the innocent bunnies so they can be blamed for damage? Humans need to oversee this issue and do what they can to prevent damage rather than blaming the domestic bunnies
    (that humans bred) which depend on humans for their care. Humans are looking for a scape goat for their laziness!!!

  72. Robin
    Posted March 18, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Well, for those of us who do not live it Victoria and love bunnies, it is hard to start things rolling, but, once again, I challenge those that do live in Victoria and especially those sincere “bunny lover UVic people” that want to see them survive and solve the ecosystem destruction to get together and start something rather than letting the problem slide once again………………………..

  73. Adam Pod
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Heike for posting the Martlet article from 2004…WOW what a cover page!!! Looks delicious.
    I especially like how the article focuses on the perspective of a farmer from Alberta who grew up breeding, selling, and eating rabbits. When he arrived at UVic he had no issue with eating the bunnies, and I don’t think we can blame him. I too have no qualm with eating rabbits… I am of Eastern European dissent and rabbit pate is normal. It goes to show how your childhood experiences can shape your culinary tastes, or carnivore choices. I cannot even think about sucking on deep fried chicken feet, but my Chinese girlfriend loves it. At the same time she will not try flaki, a Polish soup with tripe as the main ingredient. The main issue I see with the UVic bunnies is that they are not a usual ingredient in North American diet, and they are cute. So so so so cute. But they are cute to some, and delicious to others, like it or not this much is true. While it is hard to imagine Abe or anyone else for that matter hunting the bunnies, I understand that their motivation is not malicious, but rather simply eating a meat that is plentiful and accessible.
    I do not think this debate will end any time shortly, especially because the University has decided to keep distance from the issue, conducting surveys and putting up posters at best. In the meantime those that enjoy looking at the bunnies and admiring them will continue to do so, and a small minority will hunt and eat them.
    After the two Martlet articles, (and the responses) its apparent to me that the hunters have a solid justification for their actions, and I hope the people on the other side begin to see this. If not, than in another five years the Martlet should print another article and compare/contrast the change in community reaction. With growing education of GMO’s, hormone injections, and other large scale farming practices, we might be surprised how public opinion shifts over time.

  74. Posted February 2, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    The writer has written a superior article. I got your point and there is nothing to argue about. It is like the following universal truth that you can not disagree with: The truth is no one knows the truth. I will be back.

  75. Emilio
    Posted March 12, 2010 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    I would like to say something about this rabbit topic.

    First, the rabbits on campus, and beyond, were once pets, yes, but they have reproduced in the wild, and the rabbits that hop around the campus now are no one’s pets. They are 4th or 5th or more generation wild.

    Second, in my perspective, plants are sentient beings. Plants have a wisdom far greater than we little humans would like to admit or understand. Thus, for me, to harvest camus, potatoes, carrots, or rabbits, there is no difference. They are all alive. They all feed us. They all support us to live another day.

    Third, if you have a problem with taking the lives of animals for food, may I suggest you go protest at the University Center caffeteria, or better yet, all the grocery stores in your neighborhood for carrying meat and meat products that have been inhumanly raised, slaughtered, packaged, and shipped to your dinner plate.

    Finally, there is nothing “inhumane” about – I will use the word harvest – harvesting rabbits or any animals with your own hands because the pain they feel is the pain you feel. Hunting is a deepening of a very powerful relationship between the animal and the human. In those brief moments there is no seperation between the hunted and the hunter. There is a realization, a true experienced realization that the animal is you. That animal’s energy, its power, its body will feed you and help you live another day.

  76. Alex
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Cathy, please understand that the first time a user posts on this blog, it must be moderated to make sure it is not automated spam messages. The blog is checked as frequently as possible for moderation, but not every moment. Your previous comment has been posted now that it has been reviewed. No comments are disallowed unless they threaten someone or use foul language.

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