Keeping pet rabbits in Queensland






Press release July 2003

Pet rabbits still illegal in Queensland
Pet rabbits still illegal in Queensland
4 July 2003

Keeping pet rabbits in Queensland remains illegal under the new Land Protection (Pest and Stock Route Management) Act 2002.

NR&M pest management strategy policy officer Jenny Shanahan said the maximum penalty for keeping a rabbit without a permit in Queensland has increased from $3750 to $30,000 from 1 July 2003.

“Rabbits are one of Australia’s major agricultural and environmental pests, costing between $600 million and $1 billion annually,” Ms Shanahan said.

“In Queensland alone, control of rabbits is estimated to cost the sheep and cattle industries in excess of $2 million per annum.”

Ms Shanahan said peak agricultural industry groups, Local Government associations, and environmental and conversation groups support the ban on keeping rabbits as pets.

“The new Act continues to recognise that wild rabbit plagues threaten the livelihood of many rural landholders, causing considerable losses to agricultural industries including grain and vegetable crops,” she said.

“Rabbits are an introduced species that have a major adverse impact on the environment as a whole and Australia’s native flora and fauna.

“Rabbits compete with native animals and are a primary cause of soil erosion,” she said.

Ms Shanahan said organisations and businesses may apply for a permit to keep rabbits for scientific research, public education and public display purposes - however these permits have strict conditions.

“Kindergartens and other educational institutions will no longer be permitted to keep domestic rabbits from July 1, and permits will not be issued for keeping rabbits as pets or for rabbit farming ” she said.

Permits to keep rabbits for research, education or display purposes can be obtained from the Department of Natural Resources and Mines, and are valid for up to two years. Permits issued prior to 1 July 2003 are valid and continue to be effective until 31 December 2003, unless otherwise revoked, suspended or surrendered.

For further information on rabbits in Queensland phone freecall 1800 999 367 or see the NR&M website.

For further information contact Jenny Shanahan, Pest Management Strategy, Natural Resources and Mines: 07 3405 5526, or Media Officer Rose Rathborne 07 3405 6961 or after hours: Brett Davis on 0422 802 296.
DNR Pest Facts-Pet rabbits - the most common illegal pet.

DECLARED

Why control the keeping of rabbits?

The rabbit is Australia's most destructive introduced pest. Wild rabbits cause more than $100 million damage every year and have caused and continue to cause severe land degradation and soil erosion. Wild rabbits threaten the survival of many rare and endangered species of native wildlife. The keeping of pets is strongly opposed by many rural landholders whose livelihood is threatened by wild rabbit plagues. Many people fear the widespread keeping of rabbits as pets would cause similar problems to those being experienced with the feral cat.

Restriction on keeping rabbits

The rabbit (all varieties, including domestic breeds) is a declared pest animal throughout Queensland under the Rural Lands Protection Act 1985. It is an offence to keep a rabbit of any variety as a pet. The maximum penalty is $30,000.

Legal standing on pet rabbits

A proposal to legalise desexed domestic rabbits was considered in 1994 but was rejected by the Departments of Primary Industries, Environment and Heritage and Lands. The proposal was also opposed by several local governments and grazier groups. The present ban on pet rabbits has not been lifted and the keeping of all rabbits (domestic or otherwise) as pets remains illegal in Queensland.

Permits

A permit cannot be issued for keeping of pet rabbits of any variety for any private purpose.

A permit to keep a rabbit in Queensland can only be approved if the animal is being kept for an approved public purpose:
- public education - schools and universities which aim to raise awareness of the impact of wild rabbits

- public exhibition - registered zoos only

- public entertainment - registered entertainment businesses only

- scientific and research purposes - universities and medical laboratories

Permits to breed rabbits are only issued to recognised scientific institutions. Breeding of rabbits for any other purpose is an offence.

General Information

The domestic varieties and the wild (grey) variety of rabbits are the same species, although the domestic varieties have been heavily modified via years of cross-breeding and selection by rabbit enthusiasts. Although most escaped domestic rabbits are probably killed by feral cats, dogs and foxes, there is evidence that a small proportion of escaped female domestic rabbits will survive and breed successfully with wild male rabbits.

Wild rabbits were originally imported into Australia in 1859 and released for hunting purposes in Victoria. The wild rabbit has since spread over most of Australia. There may be over 400 million wild rabbits in Australia today. Small colonies of domestic rabbit varieties have established on islands, where predators are absent.

Further Information

Is available from Land Protection Officers, Department of Natural Resources 008 803 788 (local call) can provide the telephone number for your nearest office.

Brochure party (sic) funded by Rural Protection Fund.
PA 15 November 1996 The state of Queensland Produced by Land Protection Sub
Program Agdex ISSN 1327-5402




Rabbit Information Service was established over 13 years ago and has been providing rabbit information and links to those people looking for rabbit information on the internet. We also provide a wide variety of information on a variety of issues including environmental information, health information, animal related issues and literature and poetry information and links. In an ever changing world we hope to update these pages to provide more information applicable to living an informed and ethical lifestyle on our planet.

We should all be following a lifestyle that accepts recycling, best choice in cars (low emissions), and designing our homes to be environmentally and ecologically friendly. Ethical investments can direct your investment to areas of finance, mortgages, share acquisitions, banking, loans and trading in forex and futures markets. Even your choice of coffee beans or buying organic food can mean less pollution and less suffering in the world. Children should be educated to respect each other and our planet and to follow conscious positive decisions about everything from self respect, respect for others and respect for our world. As adults we should all be setting good examples for children to follow in every way.


Rabbit Information Service was established over 13 years ago and has been providing rabbit information and links to those people looking for rabbit information on the internet. We also provide a wide variety of information on a variety of issues including environmental information, health information, animal related issues and literature and poetry information and links. In an ever changing world we hope to update these pages to provide more information applicable to living an informed and ethical lifestyle on our planet.

We should all be following a lifestyle that accepts recycling, best choice in cars (low emissions), and designing our homes to be environmentally and ecologically friendly. Ethical investments can direct your investment to areas of finance, mortgages, share acquisitions, banking, loans and trading in forex and futures markets. Even your choice of coffee beans or buying organic food can mean less pollution and less suffering in the world. Children should be educated to respect each other and our planet and to follow conscious positive decisions about everything from self respect, respect for others and respect for our world. As adults we should all be setting good examples for children to follow in every way.




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