Feral rabbits by the thousands on U Victoria campus

British Columbia's University of Victoria is awash in thousands of feral bunnies, and no one knows what to do about it:

As the university struggles with the question of what to do with between 1,500 and 2,000 feral rabbits -- which are chewing and digging their way through the campus grounds -- emotions are running high, fuelled by accusations of misinformation from both sides.

Leaders of the protect-the-bunnies movement claim the university is secretly killing rabbits at night and that there are "poison boxes" on the grounds. Bunny supporters claim that officials have only paid lip-service to trap and sterilize programs as they always regarded a massive slaughter as the final solution.

"The University of Victoria has been for years conducting a misinformation campaign in order to justify their killing of abandoned domestic rabbits on campus," said animal rights activist Roslyn Cassells.

"Betrayal is the order of the day at the University of Victoria, where a large-scale nighttime shooting of over 1,000 abandoned pet rabbits is imminent," Cassells said in a recent e-mail to the media.

Rabbit woes continue to multiply at University of Victoria (Thanks, Dan Mac!)


  1. Doesn’t the university have a cafeteria?
    Problem solved!
    Should help with the budget as well.

  2. “Y’all know me. Know how I earn a livin’. I’ll catch these rodents for you, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Bad rabbits. Not like going down the pature chasin’ fluffy and flopsy.

    These bunnies, swallow your whole campus. Little shakin’, little tenderizin’, an’ down it goes. And we gotta do it quick, that’ll bring back your tourists, put all your businesses on a payin’ basis.

    But it’s not gonna be pleasant. I value my neck a lot more than three thousand bucks, chief. I’ll find him for three, but I’ll catch ’em, and kill ’em, for ten.

    But you’ve gotta make up your minds. If you want to stay alive, then ante up. If you want to play it cheap, be on welfare the whole winter.

    I don’t want no volunteers, I don’t want no mates, there’s just too many captains on this island. Ten thousand dollars for me by myself. For that you get the heads, the lucky feet, the whole damn thing.”

  3. @arikol cafeteria plan…

    A cafeteria plan would work and teach students some hard lessons. Life lessons that are seldom mentioned in our modern world.

    1. Are you implying that students should be learning things of deep value at college?

    2. yeah, although I may have been checking for a response with the wording of my plan I still really think that this sort of thing is sensible and, as you say, a real life lesson.

      A course in rabbit hunting, preparation and cooking?

      I’m raised in a small rural town with strong connections to farms and hunting, so I actually know what my food looks like in the various stages of preparation (all the way from being cute little newborn lambs, right up until they hit my plate). Cleaning chickens is probably my least favorite task, but it’s just a part of the cycle of life. And respect is important. Good farmers take care of their animals and care about their livestock. I knew a family whose barn burned down with many of their cows inside. They were devastated, and it wasn’t about the money (insurance took care of that) but trying to save their animals from burning alive took its toll.
      Rabbits are the same, don’t cause unnecessary pain, don’t damage the environment unnecessarily (poison, viruses, etc) and respect your food.

      Seeing how removed people have become from nature is shocking, especially when it means that real problems (which often arise from human meddling) cannot be taken care of. We create an artificial environment without the normal balance of prey and predators (or upset that balance), then introduce some animals to that environment (often our ex-pets or livestock) which then run rampant. If anyone then mentions culling we see people rise up in protest, often without any real understanding (or even respect) of nature or the ecosystem in which the problem is arising.

      The fact that this university may not dare to do anything due to the possible backlash shows a symptom of our total disconnect from the real world.

  4. Having been to the campus itself, the bunnies are quite literally EVERYWHERE. Despite being furry and cute and all that one can only presume the amount of damage that they cause to the grounds. These are, however, not your everyday feral rabbits. They are house bunnies and act very much as house bunnies would. They are not timid and will actually allow one to come right up and pet them.

    The prevailing rumour in Victoria is that these bunnies at one time inhabited the grounds of the general hospital, and once the city and province had had enough of them the plan was to exterminate them. Thats when private citizens moved in and captured the bunnies, transporting them to the university. Which has of course led to the current predicament.

    I’m not for a mass killing. I am for letting nature correct itself. Why not introduce a few families worth of coyotes to the university grounds? Things would eventually reach a balance that way, and you could also use the excuse “a coyote ate my homework!”

  5. Tim: I *warned* you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you *knew*, didn’t you? Oh, it’s just a harmless little *bunny*, isn’t it?

    1. Australia has never really fixed the rabbit problem. Some things we have done in the past include giving them diseases (mixamytosis and something else), baiting, trapping and shooting. Get rid of them before they are a real problem that spreads outside uni. Shooting is in my opinion the most humane treatment as it is immediate, no pain, no illness.
      In some places you can shoot thirty a day for 3 months and there will still be plenty. It is estimated that we have 700 million rabbits. They are very damaging to farms.

  6. Well, if the U has been at it for years, killing and poisoning has proven quite ineffective, hasn’t it?

    It would also be quite surprising if the Invasion was limited to the campus: the whole island is made of green stuff.

    Anyway, the problem stems from the artificial nature of the moldy (green again…) Victorian lifestyle that is in force there, which is ecologically imbalanced. What they really need is a few packs of wolves.

    1. Then when the campus is overrun by wolves, they can bring in Sarah Palin in a helicopter.

    2. Ineffective? This is what we call a renewable resource! Students could be leaving UV with an appreciation for free-range, hormone-free meat and a very nice ushanka for years to come.

    3. wolves?

      nah – too likely to attract the Sarah Palins of the world

      how about Lynx?
      cute, cuddly and natural rabbit predators…
      what could possibly go wrong?

  7. Myxomatosis and calicivirus? Nothing like a little biological warfare to put a dent in the furry little buggers.

  8. Obviously the problem is a lack of natural predators. How about the addition of some feral cats to the population?

  9. Bring in the hawks! I watch a pair of red-tailed hawks hunt and successfully capture squirrels from my North Carolina university office!

  10. uh, 1000 *abandoned pet* rabbits? So is that 1000 people living on/near the campus who each abandoned one rabbit, or did one person have 1000 rabbits that they couldn’t take care of?

    1. 1,771,561! That’s starting with one rabbit, with an average litter of ten every twelve hours. After three days…

  11. As a long-time resident of Victoria whose mother attended UVic in the early seventies, I can tell you that there were rabbits there 35 years ago; if they are such a problem, that problem should have been addressed and a plan formed years ago. Although they do live as wild rabbits, I don’t think of them as “feral” – many of them are quite tame. I agree that they are a problem, but considering the culture here on the west coast, I don’t think a large-scale shooting or poisoning is a reality because of the backlash the school would suffer, and frankly speaking, I would worry more about being shot for wearing fur so sadly I think the ushankas are out of the question. Until the situation changes, I’ll continue to enjoy the rabbits’ company – I like to go up there once in awhile and sneak them carrots and celery.

    1. “I would worry more about being shot for wearing fur”

      Sounds like some real non-conformists need to move in, start not getting tattoos or piercings and instead wear fur hats, denim, and flannel.

      1. “Sounds like some real non-conformists need to move in, start not getting tattoos or piercings and instead wear fur hats, denim, and flannel.”

        I have no problem with that – I eat meat, wear my boyfriend’s flannel, and look forward to learning to hunt in the future. I used to enjoy wearing fur until I got accosted for it one too many times and decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.

  12. I don’t see what the problem is, rabbits are really tasty and make a great ragout with some taters and onions etc. Oh and the skin can be tanned and made into furry costumes.

  13. Duck season! Rabbit season! Duck season! Rabbit season! Rabbit season! Duck season!

  14. Forget wolves, aren’t there any predatory birds in BC? A few good hawks and the problem is solved. Plus the “hug-the-bunnies” people can’t be upset by animals (other than the human kind) eating other animals. Can they?

    1. Or hooking them up to little bunny treadmills harnessed to generators. Though with the hopping motion may be better suited to little stair climbers.

  15. Little bunny Foo Foo
    Hopping through the forest
    Scooping up the field mice
    And bopping them on the head
    Down came the Good Fairy, and she said
    “Little bunny Foo Foo
    I don’t want to see you
    Scooping up the field mice
    And bopping them on the head.”
    The reference is a little backwards, but still apropos

  16. I live in Victoria. I studied at the University of Victoria (UVic for short)years ago. A friend of mine got caught by the campus cops one night hunting them with a bow and arrow. They were a little confrontational at first, but when he made it clear that he was going to eat them, they let him leave with his bunny spoils. From what he told me they weren’t bad, but it not so nice as to repeat the exercise.

    My older brother works at UVic and has seen the raptor/bird of prey population explode because of the bunnies. It’s not uncommon to see a bald eagle or hawk swoop down and pluck one of the hoppy legion out of their grass-fed reveries and shred them in the tree-tops above. The other bunnies scatter for a while into their nearby bushes, but soon reappear to continue their verge trimming.

    Although there are cougars and wolves on the island, none have yet managed to make the university their home from which to help the birds with the cull. As it is now the avian efforts, although appreciated by the university I am sure, have in no way put any serious dent into the population.

    Their numbers really are so vast and at times sickly that there really does need to be a cull. Although I would relish the students comments if a super predator like a cougar did arrive on the campus (“But don’t they have just as much right to live there as the bunnies they are eating in front of you?”) There is no way that they can spay or neuter any significant portion of the population. A cull is needed because it is the only way to get rid of the problem.

    1. “A friend of mine got caught by the campus cops one night hunting them with a bow and arrow.”

      That’ll teach him to hunt cops! What did he think he was, John Rambo?

      1. …says the grammar police on a Saturday morning. I think the inferred target of the personal pronoun “them” is more than obviously the rabbits through context alone.

  17. Beacause they were rabbits, real rabbits! And there were thousands! This isn’t some kind of metaphor.

  18. I think there are costs of trapping/culling that the University considers, rather than backlash. THOUSANDS of rabbits remember. Even if they trap most of them, the extent of the problem will return in a year or two. Not to mention… remembering my university cafeteria, they didn’t seem to have much of a problem serving poisoned meat anyways.

    1. Oh yeah, that’s fine in the early spring, but what are they going to do the rest of the time?

  19. “…over 1,000 abandoned pet rabbits.”

    If that’s true, who are these jerks who abandon their rabbits? (And how many of these jerks are there, depending on how many rabbits the average rabbit-owner-turned-abandoner abandons?)

  20. As a local…okay, so I don’t live in Victoria (Vancouver). But I’m local enough. UVIC always have a rabbit problem. At least from the many times I visited from age 6 to now. The numbers of rabbits have grown from the 20-30 years.

    It’s not a big problem enough to call in large scale pest control. At least not yet, nor as another local, amandajean put in more elegantly then I would: “considering the culture here on the west coast, I don’t think a large-scale shooting or poisoning is a reality “.

    I do think, as stated in the article, people would want some rabbit poo free areas. If you ever own a bunny as a pet you would know what I mean. They poop alot and eat their own poo.

  21. “Bunny supporters claim that officials have only paid lip-service to trap and sterilize programs as they always regarded a massive slaughter as the final solution.”

    “The final solution”? Really?


    1. ‘the final solution’… and here is me thinking that only the german ‘Endlösung’ had that meaning.
      Could some of the native english-speaking crowd tell me whether ‘the final solution’ in that context is indeed a clear allusion to the Shoah?

      1. Yeah, it’s an allusion to the Shoah, so the bunny supporters are in direct violation of Godwin’s law.

        1. Assuming the supporters actually said that, and the reporter isn’t just using bad phrasing.

  22. A mass poisoning? Fiver saw this coming, but the warren just wouldn’t listen!

    1. “‘I don’t know what it is,’ answered Fiver wretchedly. ‘There isn’t any danger here, at his moment. But it’s coming–it’s coming. Oh, Hazel, look! The field! It’s covered with blood!'”

      I can’t really see a wild rabbit without automatically assuming that they secretly live just like they do in Watership Down. It certainly is more pleasant to think about than the weird rodent life they live otherwise.

      College campuses are magnets for this kind of thing. I went to DePauw, where the squirrels live like fat kings. It sounds like this rabbit problem is a bit above and beyond that.

  23. Did anybody notice that they called a rabbit cull the “Final Solution”? I call Godwin’s Law on them!!

  24. I wrote a report for school on this very topic, the culling of the excessive rabbit population at Victoria General Hospital and University of Victoria.

    The university maintenance crews collect and dispose of, on average, 80 dead rabbits from the campus grounds A DAY. This is probably even more so lately as the spring population is much greater.

    Yes, they’re cute. Yes, they’ll hop up to you in droves if you offer them part of your lunch (I agree with the earlier post that they are not ‘feral’ at all, most of them quite tame to humans). But they need to be controlled to as a health issue and to prevent damage to university property.

  25. I went to UVic 25 years ago (we listened to Depeche Mode with an onion tied to our belt). I seriously don’t remember there being any significant rabbit population at the time.

    On the other hand I do remember masses of hand-wringing and moaning about the administration’s Monstrous and Evil Plans for such crimes against humanity as putting up a new building and cutting down three trees in the process, so that part of the story is 100% in keeping with UVic traditions.

  26. My groenendael would LOVE to help with this problem.

    Really, this situation would be what most dogs would consider heaven.

    1. Indeed. I have a Pembroke Welsh Corgi who’d love a crack at this situation as well. Of course, with his stubby little legs, he probably wouldn’t actually *catch* anything, but watching the festivities would be hilarious.

  27. Myxmoatosis by Philip Larkin

    Caught in the center of a soundless field
    While hot inexplicable hours go by
    What trap is this? Where were its teeth concealed?
    You seem to ask.
    I make a sharp reply,
    Then clean my stick. I’m glad I can’t explain
    Just in what jaws you were to suppurate:
    You may have thought things would come right again
    If you could only keep quite still and wait.

  28. A few good ferreters could handle that situation and, as mentioned, provide a huge supply of food as a result

  29. A little local context – the ‘final solution’ quote comes from the activists, and their spokesperson is someone named Roslyn Cassells. Cassells was the first Green elected to the Vancouver Park Board (maybe one of the first elected Greens in North America?), and sadly did such a fine job of being a complete off-the-wall lunatic that they ended up having to hire security for their meetings. (There have been other, much more effective Greens since).

    She managed to completely piss off just about everybody with lines like the above. She certainly contributed a large amount to the hard-right sweep of the next civic election. Got a stereotype about irrational ranting enviros? She’s the one to affirm such nonsense and undermine all rational discourse on the issues.

    I’m not surprised at all that she is getting frantic about such a non-issue as bunnies on campus, in a province and city where so many huge real issues are happening.

    Gah. I hoped never to hear her name again.

    1. Blissninnies indeed.

      I Googled Cassells. She actually uses the word ‘herstory’. Pro-tip: the word ‘history’ comes from the Greek ‘istoria’. It has no gender connotation whatsoever. I get pernickety about genuinely sexist language, but sometimes I wonder if people like her are CIA sleepers implanted to make rational left-wingers seem insane by association. Ho hum, I suppose we deserve our own Michelle Bachmann…

  30. This is usually how it goes- a bunch of blissninnies with no concept of the consequences of their fantasy-based moral system set forth a policy, and then some practical guy with a huge ring of keys just has to go around and do the right thing anyway.

    Reminds me of the Rainbow Gathering, where vegan hippies bring their dogs, let them run “free”, and then when they leave without them (“Dumpsty’s found a new home”) some animal control officer has to go out and shoot dozens of feral dogs.

    If you really loved animals that much, wouldn’t you want a balanced bunny ecosystem rather than an explosion/starvation scenario?

    By the way, this is exactly what my grandpa’s house looked like when he came up with a sceme for breeding rabbits to eat, and then found them too cute and let them go. In the end this ‘mercy’ led to exponentially more rabbit-killing.

  31. Why would they have to die? As many bunnies as there are, there are more students. Trap, adopt, nurture.

  32. Rabbits are prey. You can tell because they have eyes on the sides of their heads rather than the front, and they reproduce quickly. I am all for animal rights and for them not to be treated cruelly, and, letting these rabbits reproduce on and on is going to harm them in the long run.

  33. “Betrayal is the order of the day at the University of Victoria, where a large-scale nighttime shooting of over 1,000 abandoned pet rabbits is imminent,” Cassells said in a recent e-mail to the media.

    I have a feeling that this guy is just making shit up, and most of these rabbits were never pets at all…

  34. I am a current UVic student, and I work on campus. And those of you who were on campus 20 years ago, or live across the water in Vancouver… you might be underestimating a bit.
    That video doesn’t really do it justice – there are a LOT of bunnies on campus, and they are spilling out into the areas around campus. The student residence area is covered in bunny poo, and missing most of its grass (which in Victoria is unusual). There are holes everywhere. It’s actually kind of dangerous to walk in the grass as catching a foot is pretty easy. There are a lot of birds of prey around (the whole campus is heavily wooded and wilderness friendly, which is why the bunnies thrive), but there are too many bunnies for them to eat. In fact, I have seen a bird swoop down to catch a bunny, only to find it was too fat and was unable to carry it away. Many of the bunnies are quite inbred as well – you can’t be sure they are not diseased.
    The campus gardening team does a great job of minimizing the damage the bunnies do, so campus is still beautiful, and the bunnies are cute on the background. But you also have to remember the culture. UVic is a pretty big hippy school, and most students will not accept that the bunnies do need to be culled. And not a day goes by when I don’t see someone feeding the little beasts. (Eating outside also means you will be accosted by one or more bunnies).

    The whole argument is pretty funny actually – and it helps if you understand the culture of the campus. We are very much a humanities dominant school, and lots of young idealists are trying to figure out right and wrong, and if that includes culling bunnies, or vandalizing universities property to grow veggie gardens, or to ban the military from attending the career fair, or a million other newsworthy items. We are an active campus with a very active culture.
    I’m from the sciences side though, and I hear more about how the bio students study the habits of the rabbit population (lots to learn there), or joke with the engineers about building a bunny catapult, or mock the hippy humanities students as I’m taking my lab compost out and drinking from my biodegradable cup.

  35. I’m currently a student at UVic, and although I love rabbits and think they’re pretty adorable, the school’s population of them is definitely way out of control. I totally agree with #21 that this is problem that should have been dealt with years ago. I’ve lived in Victoria my whole life and always remember hearing about the UVic bunnies, so it hasn’t been a secret that the campus has been overrun with them for a long time.
    Part of the problem is that local residents still seem to think that UVic is a haven where they can drop off unwanted pet rabbits. Doing this just causes unneeded suffering for most of those pets that are discarded on campus, and can also add to the population. Another huge issue is that so many people on campus (or just local residents looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon with the kids) go around feeding, picking up, and cuddling with the rabbits. People don’t seem to understand that these are wild animals, and although they are pretty cute, shouldn’t be treated in that way. Doing this just makes them a lot more aggressive. Don’t even try to sit on the grass and have a snack on campus… you WILL be accosted by rabbits that try to climb on you and steal your food!
    Last I heard there were about 1500 rabbits on campus, so something definitely needs to be done. Apparently when they tried the sterilization method, a lot of the rabbits they captured were malnourished and not very healthy. Like I said before, I think they are adorable, but if a cull will diminish their numbers to a manageable population where both students and rabbits can live together on campus, I’m all for it.

  36. * 1 rabbit, about 3 pounds, cut up
    * 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    * 3 tablespoons butter
    * 1 cup chopped celery
    * 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
    * 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
    * 1 teaspoon salt
    * dash pepper
    * 1 bay leaf
    * 4 cups water
    * 4 cups dry red wine
    * 2 cups diced carrots
    * 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
    * 4 ounces sliced mushrooms, sauteed
    * 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    * 1/3 cup water

    Directions for rabbit stew.
    Dredge rabbit pieces with 1/2 cup flour. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; brown rabbit pieces on all sides. Add celery, onion, salt, pepper, bay leaf, 4 cups water, and wine; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer rabbit stew for 2 hours. Add carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms; cook for about 25 to 30 minutes longer, or until vegetables are tender. Combine 1/4 cup flour and 1/3 cup water; stir until well blended and smooth. Stir flour mixture into the broth; cook and stir until thickened.
    Rabbit stew recipe serves 4.

    1. * 1 piece of rabbit hating boing boing commenter, about 3 pounds, cut up
      * 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
      * 3 tablespoons butter
      * 1 cup chopped celery
      * 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
      * 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
      * 1 teaspoon salt
      * dash pepper
      * 1 bay leaf
      * 4 cups water
      * 4 cups dry red wine
      * 2 cups diced carrots
      * 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
      * 4 ounces sliced mushrooms, sauteed
      * 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
      * 1/3 cup water

      Directions for commenter stew.
      Dredge commenter pieces with 1/2 cup flour. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat; brown rabbit pieces on all sides. Add celery, onion, salt, pepper, bay leaf, 4 cups water, and wine; bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer commenter stew for 2 hours. Add carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms; cook for about 25 to 30 minutes longer, or until vegetables are tender. Combine 1/4 cup flour and 1/3 cup water; stir until well blended and smooth. Stir flour mixture into the broth; cook and stir until thickened.
      Commenter stew recipe serves 4.

      Step 2: sell commenter stew to likeminded boing boing commenters
      Step 3: use the revenues to send the bunnies to animal sanctuary

  37. My bunny video, while amateurish, is better than that one, which looks as if the person filming was afraid to get too near to the feral bunnies.

    I’ve been at UVic since 1975, and the rabbits arrived about 20-25 years ago, when the owners started dumping them there. Previously they’d been dumping them at Vic General Hospital, which also tried any number of no-kill remedies, including a massive trap & adopt program. Trapped a couple hundred. How many were adopted by the hordes of bunny-protectors? About twelve.

  38. I know a guy* whose grandfather used to bring his rifle with him to school at the University of Guelph.

    On the way home he had to walk through some woods whereby he was able to shoot his supper.

    Thew best meal I ever had was rabbit stew after a day of clearing snow off peoples cottages in 1977.

    People in my home area would set up slip-not snares along the rabbit’s favourite paths.Their high speed would kill them.

    Apparently my niece recently survived at University of Victoria on just $25 (food money)a week!

    I am seeing free meals for the students.

  39. There were a couple hundred when I visited ten years ago. it seems there’s a lot more now and while they are cute, they are becoming a problem in those numbers.

  40. UGH.

    Look, in NATURE, animals die all the time. Nature is life and death: there is no morality other than survival of the fittest.

    A university campus has no built-in population control: there are no predators. So you rely on starvation due to lack of food or an outbreak of bunny-plague to manage the population. Should we not bring balance to the natural system by acting as predators?

    As “intelligent” creatures, we charge ourselves with managing our environment by our own ethical standards. Much of the time we do pretty poorly at this. But here we can make sure rabbits are killed in as quickly and painlessly a method as possible, which sure beats starving to death or dying of a disease. If you want to impose human morality on rabbits, this is the way to do it. Nature would approve.

  41. burning them for fuel has already been suggested (comment #26). This is already being done in Sweden, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/news/2009/10/091015_rabbit_burning_wup_sl.shtml
    A special niche! company freezes and prepares the bodies of the rabbits – which were already being exterminated since they are considered a nuisance in Stockholm’s parks. And maybe the killing/freezing before burning is a wise strategy because apparently, a burning bunny can cause alot of damage to the equipment stored in the shed of a Wiltshire cricket team-when it ran into the shed, tail aflame after the bonfire pile in which it was hiding was set alight. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/wiltshire/3561514.stm

    personally, I have a pet bunny and I am going to hug him right now

  42. Eat them. They are high in protein and low in fat. Our forefathers considered this as a source of meat for survival.

  43. A similar problem occurred at Victoria General Hospital. (I believe the population was only about 700 rabbits at its height though.) Lots of tearful protests not to kill the rabbits, ill-considered attempts at re-location, etc., etc. Eventually the Hospital quietly performed a cull and the problem has essentially disappeared. (The rabbit population at the Hospital is currently reported as being as few as 20.)

    A pilot project to sterilize and relocate the rabbits has been conducted at UVic. The cost? $17,743. The result? 51 rabbits captured, sterilized and tattooed; 40 of which were returned to the campus.

  44. From what I hear, a significant portion of the students studying sustainable agriculture do often trap and eat the rabbits. And no question, there are too many breeding too fast to sterilize them all. Recently, a serious suggestion was made to make a big batch of rabbit stew for the local homeless shelters, but apparently they turned up their nose at the “diseased” rabbits. They sure managed to double in numbers over the last 10 years in spite of whatever illness they may be suffering. At this rate, they are eventually heading for a population crash, and when everybody’s finding dozens of carrion eaters consuming rotten rabbits outside their dorm rooms, their “disease” concerns are gonna get serious.

  45. Education is the key, right? UVic should set up a day-long forum to teach students about the upside and downside of having a huge rabbit population on campus, as well as the moral and ethical implications of killing the rabbits. Make this mandatory to attend or something. Be honest. Start the discussion.

    While the discussion is going on, release a pack of hunters with dogs on big fucking horses to trample all over campus and kill as many goddamn stupid rabbits as possible using any means necessary (or means unnecessary).

    Now serve the rabbits for lunch at the cafeteria the next day free of charge.

    The students learn something, and they get a free lunch.

  46. Sounds like a job for a Ruger 10/22, a brick of shells, and a free Saturday afternoon. I bet the local soup kitchen would appreciate all the extra soup stock, too.

  47. UC Irvine has thousands of feral Bunnies as well.. but those bunnies were there long before the university was built… They used to be lean rabbits before the manicured campus lawns came in.

  48. I studied at UVic in the late 80’s and remember the bunny population to be large enough to stimulate conversation on campus. I recall sharing pitchers at the SUB with several people over the years who claimed to be part of the original “bunny liberation” from the biology labs, as was the campus origin myth for the growing bunny population at the time. Although those claims always seemed suspect, I did have a couple of friends who did indeed snare and eat the little varmits for food. One of them, an anthropology grad student, also cultivated small crops of roots and vegetables at several locations sprinkled throughout the manicured landscape of the campus.

  49. Oh that’s just Nonsense. Shooting? I wish. It’s going to be trapping & euthanization [sic?] . On the other hand, they certainly haven’t had to cut the grass as often, and low-hanging shrubs get trimmed. Other than the damned rabbits ringing the trunks of about 30 80ft tall Sycamore/London Plain trees, there have been advantageuous increases in Hawk, Falcon & Owl populations.

  50. Anybody with grandparents who survived the Depression?

    I’ve noticed about everywhere than when the majority of Depression survivors died or got too old to do much, the number of feral bunnies skyrocketed. My late grandfather would have loved these “Pet” bunnies made more docile and bigger, but interbreeding with ‘wild’ rabbits.

    It’s a statement on how society is so wasteful. We spend all this money and disrupt the waterflow just to have “Even” grass including in areas where it’s frighteningly unnatural. Then we get worried about these rabbits disrupting the fake setup. “Rabbit Stew” should just be the mainstay of the cafeteria… It’s the cheapest meat available, especially because the rabbits feed themselves. Just set up traps now and again, bunnies live and thrive in the specter of “Predation”.

    Bunnies are made to die. You can kill them quick and clean, then easily skin them and harvest the meat. Letting the bunnies run around first and have “Only one bad day” you can boast the meat is “Organic and Free-range”.

    The skins make the cutest coats in the world. Really, ever see a “Rabbit Fur” coat on a pretty brunette? One of the best combinations ever. And if made in this way you can truly boast its as cruelty free as possible. It’s also cheap, compared to the grossly inflated priced fur coats that are done with horrible factory farm conditions.

    I’m a “Left Winger” (though I think the left/right garbage is a control conspiracy) but I’m “Old School” left, more influenced by rural depression things than ideals and the worse modern fake PC garbage. I’m against animal cruelty (satanist teenagers, lonely serial killer wanna-be’s, pointless laboratory cruelty, factory farm conditions for a quick extra buck) but I’m all for animal meat being a part of our diet.

  51. If the population is stable, they are already dying off somehow. Rabbits populations typically grow by a factor of 10 per year.
    It’s natures fast food for predators. Without predators they expand like nuts.

    In Australia, they usually eventually resort to just plowing down or bulldozing the warrens, crushing the rabbits inside.

  52. Skinning a rabbit in such a way as to preserve the pelt requires a traditional skillset that seems to be dying out in the modern world. Perhaps the Department of Anthropology could contact a First Nations trapper, one who could conduct a series of cross-disciplinary workshops, and help save traditional knowledge of skinning, stretching, tanning, and uses for rabbit pelts.

    Having never attended such a workshop, but having in my youth “cleaned” several rabbits for the kitchen, I can tell you that I regard it as a real chore, distintly more distressing than cleaning any chicken or gamebird. Some rabbits just don’t skin out easily. And lapine viscera has a characteristic smell that triggers my gag reflex every time.

    But I do love hassenpfeffer. And thick rabbit stew, with some cream and yellow curry powder added near the end, is a dish I remember with relish.

  53. So what exactly is the ‘problem’ with an environment that can support thousands of rabbits supporting thousands of rabbits? Bunnyphobia? Droppings? Are they ganging up and threatening grannies for their handbags? There’s very little that’s more innocuous than a rabbit. Sparrows poop on your car and nobody’s agitating to get rid of them. Okay, my wife is, but her car’s white and we have mulberry trees. How about leaving them alone and letting the population find its capacity, then reduce the food sources until they go down?

  54. Has everyone here eaten rabbit? If you took a boneless, skinless chicken breast and boiled it in distilled water for eight hours, it would still have more flavor than Mister Flopsy.

  55. Speaking as a native Victorian and an alumni of UVic, these rabbits are an invasive species with few natural predators to keep their population in check. The eagles just can’t keep up with the bunnies prolific population growth. They are to Uvic, what pigeons are to other cities. I am in support of culling them to protect some of the fragile habitats in the surrounding area such as the Garry Oak meadows.

  56. Too much timidity here.

    TIGERS! Don’t overdo it, though. A dozen should do the trick.

  57. They’re not “rodents” —

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    “Bunny” redirects here. For other uses, see Bunny (disambiguation).
    For other uses, see Rabbit (disambiguation).
    This article is semi-protected.
    Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)
    Scientific classification
    Kingdom: Animalia
    Superphylum: Chordata
    Phylum: Vertebrata
    Class: Mammalia
    Order: Lagomorpha
    Family: Leporidae
    in part



    Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, found in several parts of the world. There are seven different genera in the family classified as rabbits, including the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), Cottontail rabbit (genus Sylvilagus; 13 species), and the Amami rabbit (Pentalagus furnessi, endangered species on Amami ÅŒshima, Japan). There are many other species of rabbit, and these, along with pikas and hares, make up the order Lagomorpha.

    And I’m betting their collective carbon foot-print is significantly smaller than ours.

  58. A couple checks into hotel for honeymoon, goes straight to their room. Next morning, the man calls the concierge and asks that a large bowl of lettuce be sent up to the room. “Whatever for?” the clerk asks. “Well,” says the man, “I want to see if she *eats* like one too.”

  59. announce a kill date, and offer a free rabbit to anyone that wants one..

    if you want to save them, come and get them.

    anyone who objects get to take 2 for thier very own.

    the real problem is what they will draw- I dont know if there arew coyotes in that area of the world, but here, rabbits are delicious coyote chow, and once the rabbits are gone, cats are just as nice as well as small dogs and human babies…..

  60. Okay, I’ll send my nieces to the university for a few weeks. The bunnies will end up with sore ribs from the hugs and want to move. Then we get a bus and drive them to South Park.

  61. “1,000 abandoned pet rabbits”. Nonsense. Not that it matters, but there haven’t been 1,000 pets abandoned. They’re feral domestic species. Nice try framing the people attempting to control the population as pet killers, but an animal born in the wild is a wild animal.
    I haven’t eaten rabbit since the ’80s but the closest comparison to poultry was maybe dark turkey meat. Definitely more flavor than a domestic chicken.

  62. Double barrel shotguns for all freshmen?

    Releasing some foxes on campus (although that means that two years from now, grizzlybears will ahve to be let loose on campus to handle the foxes)?

    Lots of rabbitt stew on the cafeteria every day for a couple of semesters?

    Shit, start farming them (agriculture/business faculties) and feed some African village at cost?


  63. this has happened on one of our local campuses. Not much one can do about it,

  64. If I don’t save the wee rabbits, who will?

    Ack! Save me from the wee rabbits!

  65. Ou, I went to UVIC…catching rabbits after a few pints is a popular UVIC past time.

  66. No problem. UVIC can release wave after wave of Chinese needle snakes. They’ll wipe out the rabbits.

  67. 1. set up warren
    2. either a. set up a frith with a council to rule as Efrafa
    b. set up a frith with council to rule as Watership down.
    3. El-ahrairah takes care of the rest

    OR: 1. Rent many HRUDUDUS to mow down these lapines.
    2. Black rabbit of Inle takes care of the rest

  68. Guys, it’s crazies on all sides here.

    On one hand you’ve got conspiracy theorists claiming that the administration is secretly poisoning animals (they aren’t), and on the other hand you’ve got people who are so anxious to see rabbits killed (mostly, it seems, because the specter of animal rights activists has made them blindly furious) that they aren’t particularly concerned about whether or not it’s even necessary.

    The fact is, the administration has already stated they’d prefer a sterilize and release program, and despite rampant misinformation, a pilot program showed this is a reasonable move (and also that the rabbits are not diseased and/or starving, although clearly they will be if their current population growth rate keeps up).

    In fact, the only reason they haven’t gone ahead with proper population control measures is because of provincial regulations that forbid them from taking appropriate steps. It seems they can get the go ahead to cull the rabbit population, but there’s no legal mechanism to get permission to simply sterilize a few of them instead.

    Please stop suggesting new, creative ways to kill rabbits. That isn’t the problem. The problem here is a bureaucracy that won’t permit the administration to deal with a problem in a way that works for all involved.

  69. So if you’re coming in here with the old “THOSE VEGANS WON’T DO WHAT HAS TO BE DONE” cliché then you simply don’t understand the problem… either because you’ve been misinformed or because the idea of someone not wanting animals to be harmed unnecessarily has simply taxed your remaining brain cell to its breaking point.

  70. hahaha…Jdrough (#126) wins!

    But I say eat em. And if you don’t wanna eat em, let people who wanna eat em, eat em.

    $terilization? Plea$e. Who’s gonna pay for that?

  71. If killing the rabbits is unacceptable within the culture of that university then any solution should start with that premise and work from there. What would be the cost of performing vasectomies on as many male rabbits as could be caught?

    Jains regard harming any living being as morally unacceptable. I’m curious whether there are any Jains with expertise in managing animal populations.

  72. I noticed this when I was there for a conference back in August. It’s ridiculous. Rabbits as far as the eye can see.

    Maybe let the beggars catch and eat them…

  73. I have a hard time believing that the financial situation of the University of Victoria has suddenly become such an enormous issue for everyone that sterilization is out of the question.

    If culling were to take place, keep in mind we’re talking about trapping and euthanizing rabbits, which also costs money, not turning people loose with rifles on a university campus. No one is letting students hunt in a populated area, because that is actually crazy.

    As for letting ‘beggars’ eat them, there’re a plethora of services to provide food for the poor in this town already, and really there’s just tons of excess food everywhere. We don’t have a food shortage issue. You might as well say your solution to the rabbit problem is to make Christmas tree ornaments out of them. It’s basically a non sequitur. This doesn’t fix some kind of problem that we desperately need to address.

    I get the feeling people aren’t really thinking this one through. It’s been widely reported that the position of the university is that they’d prefer a sterilization program. They’d already have one going if they were permitted to.

    1. Surely trapping, then euthanizing the rabbits is more humane than trapping, subjecting the rabbit to an operation (and painful recovery), then releasing it?

      The ‘beggar’ issue is at the heart of the matter. Once, rabbits were valuable, not just for food but for fur. As a New Zealander, I have seen in my lifetime, an industry built around the control of pest rabbits and possums collapse, in no small part due to changing appetites and pressure on the fur industry.

      Like this university campus, New Zealand has no natural predators, and in our experience, the introduction of pest species has caused untold economic and environmental damage. Once a rabbit population gets out of control, food becomes scarce and the rabbits will start digging up grass root balls as a food source, which in turn makes for less pasture, starving rabbits and broken ankles for humans and livestock.

      Rabbits are built to live fast and die young. To deny this can in its own way be cruel.

  74. /.. “The creatures outside looked from rabbit to student, and from student to rabbit, and from rabbit to student again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

  75. Ripley: I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
    Hudson: Fuckin’ A…
    Burke: Ho-ho-hold on, hold on one second. This installation has a substantial dollar value attached to it.
    Ripley: They can *bill* me.

  76. Darn, just spotted one more rabbit in there to switch. Let’s call it a compromise.

  77. It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating:
    CALICI Virus

    Just get someone from an agricultural lab to ‘accidentally’ release it – it did wonders in Australia. At least for a while.

  78. Friend’s rabbit story:
    Grandmother was a homesteader, and knew how to trap rabbit. Her less rural husband didn’t like the idea of eating rabbit. She would bread and fry them and tell her less rural husband that it was fried chicken. He eventually wised up, and learned to only eat “chicken” with wings.

  79. Sort of unrelated, but I’m really going to miss the several seconds of fumbling plastic sounds at the beginning of all home videos. With cellphones and Flips there’s no big poorly put together plastic pieces and lens cap hanging around to hit it while people start taping anymore. Its lost its tell tale sign of being amateur.

  80. No one has said anything about Bugs Bunny (Such as they must have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque).

  81. My sister goes to school at UVic. She and her friends have taken to eating the rabbits on occasion. A great way for a student to get a cheap meal in a pinch!

  82. G’Day. Australia here. Sounds like you’re in need of a fence. Worked out bonza for us!

  83. Time for the Caff to serve rabbit stew, and the alumni to get furry hand warmers.

    I can’t believe this is even an argument. Cute rodents are still rodents.

  84. Why does the modern world have the hardest time solving the simplest problems rabbits are food if the students won’t eat them feed them to staff or homeless. In fact you could open a business sell the rabbit meat to the butcher, he puts all the official usda stamps and approves it cuts it up and sells it back to the school at 3 x the price they just sold it to him for. Show a loss and teach an economics class based on the results rabbit economy 101

  85. I live in victoria and have for my whole life. This is a great city and a wonderful place to hang my hat. I would just like to inform people that these 1000 plus rabbits did not arrive from 1000 people dropping them off at the campus. They $%&$ like rabbits…In case these folks didnt realize a rabbit can reporduce every 8 weeks with an offspring of 5-8 babies. Do the math. It would not take very many abandoned rabbits to get to where we are now. I think we should round them up and feed them to the homeless. In fact if I was to go to a high end restaurant and ordred rabbit it would cost my a pretty penny!!!!

  86. As someone who has been a student, and now an employee at UVic for the past seven years, the rabbits have become a problem. Last summer was the first time in decades they weren’t culled and (surprise surprise) the population exploded. More and more rabbits are found dead on the roads and paths, in parking lots, and the every present construction sites on campus because there is not enough safe space for them.

    Sure it’s sad that they have to kill them, but this is a University not a wildlife sanctuary. The carrying capacity of the Lansdowne campus has been exceeded and they have done from cute little critters to destructive vermin. Green space has been decimated by hungry little mouths, killing native plant species in restoration areas, and creating unstable ground hazards in the Commons areas.

    I’ve seen the protesters, heard their side more than once, but no one has come up with a solution yet. The University can’t keep holding off on the cull, because the rabbit population is becoming dangerously large.

  87. Why is this even an issue?
    Just leave the little creatures alone. Maybe trap, sterilize and release.

    Demands for the rabbits’ extermination are sadly predictable. That type of person would demand the same be done with excess orphans, would that were slightly more socially acceptable.

  88. If the raptors and the archery class won’t handle it, then try:
    Fisher Cats
    Coyotes & Badgers (interesting pair hunters)

    This is not a burden, it’s an opportunity to create a niche fillable with endangered species via a free range breeding program. Ecopoesis, people – you’re not going to preserve biodiversity with zoos.

  89. Hey 159 what do you mean we have not come up with a solution!! We have and involves neutering the rabbits and relocating them for FREE. But UVic says no. They want them all dead.
    And for those bozos who fall into rabbit holes maybe you should look where you are walking instead of your Blackberry!

  90. What about that scret US Government contract they had with UVic? 500 rabbits imported and UVic was paid a half million dollars to experiment with a rabbit disease forv biological warfare involving the US Army. Dr Francis Nano was the head.
    Maybe these rabbits are descendants of those when they were declared redundant.

  91. I live near UVic and I *will* trap and kill any rabbit I find on my property. They are not native animals, and once they start spreading out of built up areas, they will wreak havoc on native wildflowers.

    As for fisher cats, bobcats, lynxes, coyotes, and badgers, none of these is native to Vancouver Island. Our Island ecology is already messed up with bunnies, both domestic and cottontail, and gray squirrels. Enough is enough.

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