This is Rebekah's Story and in Australia, these events still happen today.
I remember when I was 11 years old and at Phillip Island on a farm holiday and found a baby rabbit. A cute little wild rabbit. It ran so clumsily from me screaming and I knew something was wrong with it. It could hardly see and was too easey to catch. I knew something was wrong because it was outside it daylight, and no near any burrow entrance. I caught it and took it to my neighbour who was holidaying with her kids with us. She had lived up the country so I thought she would know more about wild bunnies. She told me it was myxomatosis, the horrid flue like runny nose and sticky muck comming form its eyes.
The farmer who bottle fed some lambs for the children to whatch offered me an icypole for it and many icypoles if I found other bunnies. I was so upset I cried right there and then - I did not want a blinking icypole I wanted someone to take the rabbit to the vet! My mother told me to put it in a box, and we kept it in our caravan. My neighbour said to make sure it drank, and give it some mashed up green vegetables. But bunny did not get better.
Some boys - I think from the farm as they seemed to know about this rabbit "some girl had found" harrased my brother so they could use bunny for cricket practise (they were pure-bred rednecks these boys so I now realise). I was told bunny would die a slow death and prehaps I should give it to the farmer. I took bunny down they back of the minature farm behind the sheds, too scared to give it to any one associated with the farmer - as I had seen farmers (so called responsible adults) throw injured sheep around and feared what they would do to a lesser important animal. Hearing - cricket ball, and give it to the dogs to play with - I ended up finding some solid ground and spent ages trying to gather the strength internally which I needed to physically be able to swiftly and properly break the rabbits neck. (It was how I had been told it was done by my grandfather and although it is not nice, I had been told that properly done it is at least quick).
These days I have come to learn that rabbits can servive myxo somtimes, and now if I was to find a bunny in the same condition I would certainly persist with treatment (particulally natropathic medicines). So I did it. And now I've said it I assure you it was quick. He got burried near a little creek, with six children whatching. We never told the farm boys and their friends and mum never mentioned the grave site. We were aged 3 to 11 years old, and that day we learned to scorn the release of such untreatable viruses. As children are, we asked heaps of questions about the rabbits condition.
Humans released this illness, they made no cure for it and they offered no protection from it. That dear little creature carried that message for us, as even the youngest of us knew, that if it were not for the lack of treatment or for the release of the virus in the first place, the little bunny would be with its mother and lived as happily as a bunny could on a farm.
I also learned that day to see farmers under a different light - not like the old farmer Jones who waves to the school bus as it passes his farm, milks his smiling cows and feeds his free range chickens on a bright sunny morning while his dogs play with the sheep story book image of farmers.
I guess we could write all day about these horrid things, and I pray that soon there will be much much more happier tales to tell about these animals we work hard to help. The hard work is worth it, when the tale ends happily. It is worth it anyway, as we all know that animals do not speak the language we do and need our voices. Sad thing is, even if they did speak our language, there are some pretty ignorant people out there who still cannot understand.
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