HARRISBURG, Pa. — Long lines to pet rabbits are a constant at the Pa. Farm Show petting table. Animals typically draw attention, especially the ones you can interact with.
Claims online have raised questions about the fate of the animals after the show ends. So we came to the farm show to verify that claim and find out how the rabbits are cared for while they're here.
Will Rabbits be euthanized at the end of Pa. Farm Show?
WHAT WE FOUND
In a statement, officials with the Department of Agriculture says the department “has not ordered anyone who has animals at Farm Show to euthanize their animals.”
Lia Swartz, the Rabbit Department Chairwoman for the show, also backs that statement.
“This is not correct, this is a false statement," Swartz said. "All of these animals are leaving here and are being quarantined.”
Quarantining the rabbits after the show prevents the spread of any diseases when they return home with their owners.
Still, safety measures aside from quarantine are being taken at the show.
Show rabbits are kept separate from petting rabbits. The petting rabbits are also those that are no longer in breeding programs.
Rabbits that the public can interact with also get time away from the petting table so that they are not overwhelmed.
"They’re rotated out on a schedule so that they do minimize the amount of risk," Swartz said.
Fences and ropes help limit contact with show animals.
"The fencing has been able to protect them from the number of hands going into the pens which can spread disease RHDV2 which is the rabbit disease going around," Swartz said.
So no, the rabbits at the farm show will not be euthanized at the end of the farm show.
Swartz says there are ways people at the farm show can help keep the rabbits safe and healthy.
"We do offer hand sanitizer which helps," Swartz said. "If you’re coming to the farm show, especially if you have your own rabbits at home, even if you’re taking part in our petting table, just wash your hands ahead of time."