Evening Standard 7/3/98

by Dionne Barton

RCD claims first pet rabbits in Manawatu Rabbit Calicivirus has claimed its first non-intended victims in Manawatu, with the death last week of five pet rabbits.

Les Maddaford, of Feilding, had the grisly task of disposing of his children's pet rabbits, which had died from RCD. Another 15 had to be put down on Wednesday night by Feilding veterinarian Errol Harvey.

Mr Maddaford sympathised with farmers battling the rabbit problem, but said the way the pet rabbits died was dreadful. "I realise farmers are only trying to protect their income. But some foresight before releasing the virus wouldn't have hurt". It was decided the $600 cost of vaccinating the 20 rabbits was too high, he said. But in hindsight..."

Mr Harvey said he had vaccinated only three or four rabbits since RCD was released in Manawatu in January, but had recently seen several people worried about their sick rabbits. He was "amazed" people continued to take the risk of not vaccinating their pets.

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