Year of the Rabbit Approaches In China Making Them Popular

Panda rabbits are becoming popular in China as the New Year approaches. Panda rabbits originated in France and are called Blanc de hotot. They are white with black eye rings which gives them a similarity to the giant panda's coloring.

The Chinese New Year fall on February 3 western calendars. Each New Year is connected with an animal and this coming year will be the Year of the Rabbit. Vendors in markets are selling a great many rabbits as pets. Some people are reported to be buying dozens to give away as gifts. One online search showed more than 600 vendors selling rabbits at prices from 15 to 2,000 yuan.

But, the paper said, the rabbits can spend five days in consignment and many have suffocated or frozen to death in the small boxes in which they are sent. At least one vendor had stopped shipments because of the deaths, the paper reported.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals issued a statement from its Shanghai office on Friday urging people not to carry a rabbit into their home for the Chinese New Year.

"Rabbits aren't just cute and fluffy - they're high-maintenance animals who require important resources, equipment, attention and veterinary care," PETA’s Maggie Chen said in a statement.
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