The Rabbit

(ii) Myxomatosis

Myxomatosis is also a terminal disease of rabbits. It was deliberately released into the environment in the early 1960s. It is now spread by fleas and mosquitoes and deliberately by CSIRO.

Once the rabbit catches the virus, it multiplies and the rabbit's skin becomes red and thickened. The virus spreads to the local lymph nodes and to other organs. The virus is also present in the skin and various body secretions. By the sixth day there are swellings in various parts of the body. These swellings enlarge and begin to thicken. Pus discharges from the ears and eyelids and these become thick and swollen. In the following few days the eyes swell shut and blind the rabbit. The animal is now also deaf. There are tumours all over the body. Skin lesions are large, coloured and protuberant. The head swells. The testicles swell and the scrotum ruptures. The rabbit becomes anorexic, breathes with difficulty and convulses. As long as 12 days after infection, the rabbit finally dies.

Millions of animals have been killed and are being killed in just this way. In 1985 Peter Barber, State Director of RSPCA in Victoria said:

"If the Victorian Government were to attempt to introduce Myxomatosis now it would have a real argument on its hands and it would lose. Death by Myxomatosis is slow and cruel."

Despite this condemnation, new strains of Myxomatosis are regularly introduced into the field and millions of animals continue to die in this extended agony.

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