Australian authorities deliberately spread Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease, Myxomatosis and several species of flea across Australia. Current research into viral vectored immunocontraception, which may eventually escape onto the Australian continent, gives great cause for concern. Many viruses are capable of crossing species lines as well as mutation and recombination.

"No man is an island unto himself." - John Donne
No island is an island unto itself and
no disease is an island unto itself.

Hot Topics
  • Mammals health (select rabbits to view RHD information)
  • Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease pops up in Iowa,USA (April,2000)
  • Latest RHD Aussie and USA news December 2001
  • APHIS adopts correct name for RCD i.e. RHD (7/9/2001)
  • RHD Outbreaks in the USA (New York 11/12/2001,Utah 20/8/2001,Iowa-March 2001)
  • Urgent appeal to stop authorities spreading disease in Australia
  • Submission to Environment Australia March 2001 (EA is considering RCD bait application)
  • Archive of OSU's Laboratory of Calicivirus Studies (includes letters to Australian and N.Z Governments).
  • Review of "Pest, plagues and people", Nature Australia, Winter 2000
  • New viral vectored vaccine developed in Spain to protect rabbits from Myxo/RCD
  • Netherlands rabbit numbers fall due to diseases
  • Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease - Omnibus of all collected RCD/VHD information
  • Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease in the USA
  • RCD/VHD baits were/are spread illegally in Australia and New Zealand
  • FOI Documents Feb. 2000 - VHD/RCD virus food baits/loaded fleas to kill Australian rabbits
  • ICTV - The 1999 Calicivirus Study Group and suggested classifications
  • RHDV outbreak Aphis/USDA main site - Fact Sheet/Questions and answers/Impact worksheet
  • Inaccuracies in reporting the RCD outbreak in Iowa, USA in March 2000
  • How to limit the spread of RHD/RCD during an outbreak
  • Has RHDV/RCD affected human health
  • Birds of prey numbers declining due to rabbit die-off
  • Slater and Gordon's website - read about pending legal action against CSIRO concerning RCD/VHD
  • URGENT : Email or print out and mail this letter opposing the legalisation of RCD/VHD baits in Australia
  • Rabbit Virus - is it breeding a disaster?
  • Emerging viruses merit more concern
  • Case study on a VHD/RHD/RCD disease outbreak in the USA
  • Read about the USA VHD scare October 1999
  • Join Australian Pet Rabbit or Vegetarian Mailing lists (NZ'ers welcome)

    Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) or as it is commonly known in Australia and New Zealand Rabbit Calicivirus Disease (RCD)

    Papers you can purchase

  • How to purchase the NZ RCD Conference details (Available 5th March 1999)
  • Purchase the Feb. 1999 NZ Vet Journal (re RHDV "ear-rot" rabbits paper)
  • Click here for details of how to order final RCD Program reports (23/8/1999)

    In 1995 New Zealand and Australia began a jointly funded research program, into the feasibility of using a strain of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHD) from the Czech Republic, as a biological control agent for the use, against feral rabbits. The Australian authorities had been considering the possibilities of RHD/RCD as a biological control agent of the wild rabbit since 1989. In October 1995, RHD escaped from field trials on Wardang Island, five kilometres off the South Australian coast. In 1996 RHD/RCD was declared a biological control agent of rabbits in Australia. In August 1997 Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease was illegally introduced into New Zealand by a group of South Island Farmers. This release took place after the Ministry of Agriculture declined the import application of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease Virus, as a biological control for feral rabbits.

    Special RHD sites concerning RHD
    Case study of a theoretical outbreak of RHD on the USA
    Rabbit Virus - is it breeding disaster?
    Report-Emerging viruses merit more concern
    NZ Website about the New Zealand outbreak
    The Calicivirus Parts 1, 2 and 3 (NZINE website)
    Hippity Hop goes the virus (March 1996)
    When is a country recognised as being VHD free - OIE regulations
    VHD Coalition website - USA
    Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease in the USA
    Showbunny's website

    When did RHD first emerge as a deadly killer disease of rabbits?
  • Rabbit Hemhorrhagic Disease - an emerging fatal virus of mammals
  • VHD Outbreak in Mexico - Journal of Applied Rabbit Research (O.S.U.) 1989
  • OIE Yearbook 1995 Pacific Region RHD outbreaks
  • VHD [in the UK 1996]
  • Newsflash (27th June 1997) Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease isolated in Cuba.
  • Newsflash (22nd July 1997) RHD outbreak control in Cuba
  • Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease no longer quarantinable, UK 1996
  • American USDA policy on VHD (15th September 1997)
  • Heinemann hot topics - RCD

    What do scientists know about the origins or causative agent that causes RHD in rabbits?
  • Institute of Animal Health UK
  • International status information of RCD/VHD/RHD from the OIE
  • Archive of RCD/RHD information - Oregon State University Laboratory of Calicivirus Studies
  • Is RHD caused by parvovirus or picorna virus?Abstracts of papers re causative agents.
  • Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RCD) - Concerns by David O. Matson, M.D, PhD
  • Explanation about what causes RHD by Dr Doug Gregg PhD and virologist, USA
  • The family Caliciviridae
  • CSIRO RCD virus concerns (6th December 1997)
  • Calicivirus of seals now found to infect humans/other animals
  • Rabbits breed despite virus 22/7/98

    International objections to the use of RHD/RCD as a biocontrol
  • International scientific opinion opposes the deliberate spread of RHD/RCD
  • Rabbit Virus - is it breeding a disaster?
  • Emerging viruses merit more concern
  • Archive of Oregon State University Laboratory Of Calicivirus Studies
  • ABC Radio National : Background Briefing : The Bunny Bug - Friend or Foe?
  • Summary of RHD Report-Dec. 1997 issue Pan-American Rabbit Science Newsletter
  • 11 Australian Birds of Prey species threatened by introduction of RCD/RHD
  • Starvation diet (raptors cease to breed as rabbit numbers decline)31/10/98
  • Compendium of RCD News reports from Australia since the outbreak of RCD
  • I'll take rabbit virus - woman (27/1/98)
  • Response of Dr David Matson PhD to CSIRO scientists abusive comments
  • New rabbit control handbook-includes search for new pathogens!!!
  • Letter From RSPCA WA President (14/2/1997)- Re RHD
  • Article re rabbit shooters lose business (1997)

    Court Cases fought in Western Australia regarding RCD
  • Legal challenges to RCD in Western Australia

    The New Zealand Story
    (New Zealand authorities decided that it was too dangerous to legalise RCD as a biocontrol of wild rabbits in New Zealand yet farmers illegally imported and spread the disease. What legal ramifications does this have for New Zealand and why have rabbits been found in New Zealand with their ears rotting away whilst suffering from RCD over weeks when RCD was said to kill a rabbit in 3 days or less?)
  • NZ Website about the New Zealand outbreak
  • Read the NZ Authorities "No" decision to RHD
  • RCD AND THE RULE OF LAW (The New Zealand Law Journal Nov. 1997)
  • RCD regulations illegal - Committee (24/2/98)
  • New regulations legalising RHD in NZ 22/9/97
  • THE LATEST NZ RCD NEWS RELEASES -NZ Ministry of Agriculture
  • Letters published in Science (4.4.1997) by Trevor Duston and by Prof. Yvonne van Roy
  • RCD linked to deformities in rabbits 17/9/98
  • Letter to Prime Minister Shipley (8/3/98) requesting free/cheap vaccines.
  • Man's 20 pet rabbits die of RCD in New Zealand (vet had wanted $600 vaccination fee)
  • Deadly RCD virus for sale over the counter - $150 per bottle (5/3/98)
  • NZ reports 10/9/98 Australian RCD imported into New Zealand now rots rabbits ears
  • View the apparent "ear-rot effect" of RCD baits on wild rabbits in NZ
  • High levels of RCD antibody in cats and other species (NZ)
  • New Zealand - Emergency RCD Help Information
  • Click here to read some abstracts from the one day NZ RCD Seminar 3/9/98
  • Child complains as RCD infected pet rabbit dies haemorrhaging from mouth
  • Compendium of many RCD news reports from NZ since the outbreak of RCD
  • Virus a success says media
  • Research shows RCD baits may immunise rabbits
  • More NZ research shows RCD baits may immunise rabbits

    RCD NZ CONFERENCE 30/3/1998
    Details of the RCD conference sponsored by the New Zealand Association of Scientists
  • Conference details - Rabbit control, RCD: dilemmas and implications (30/3/98)
  • Click here to read some abstracts from the NZ RCD Conference
  • Letter from an NZ scientist who attended the NZ RCD conference
  • Purchase the NZ RCD conference papers (Posted 5th March 1999)

    The effects of RHD/RCD on human health in Australia
    Read this 1998 new paper on Emerging Infectious Diseases that indicates RCD/RHD may have caused illness in Australians.

  • CDC USA Emerging Infectious Diseases Vol 4 No 1 January - March 1998 :Calicivirus Emergence from Ocean Reservoirs: Zoonotic and Interspecies Movements
  • Click here to read EID Journal VOl 4 No 2 April - June 1998 - Letters
  • News report - New CDC report indicates that RHD/RCD may infect human health.
  • The Precautionary Principle - proceedings from a meeting on environmental health and safety-January 1998
  • The family Caliciviridae
  • Click here to read the opinions of many Scientists opposing the deliberate spread of RHD/RCD (including doctors)

    The August 1996 BRS Report on RCD quoted the Chief Medical Officer, Commonwealth Department of Health and Family Services as stating:

    "(1)While at this stage
    (2)there is no guarantee of human safety with respect to exposure to rabbit calicivirus
    (3)I am satisfied that the above findings do not provide evidence that rabbit calicivirus is associated with infection or disease in humans.
    (4)On this basis and
    (5)with the limitations of the study in mind, I have no objection to the controlled release of rabbit calicivirus as a means of rabbit control".

    Full text of letter from the Chief Medical Adviser,Dr A.I.Adams.

    "So we have gone from hysteria, in which the release of this virus [RCD - See 1] was about to let loose untold horrors on the vertebrate populations of Australia, to a scenario in which the virus is not killing rabbits at a rate sufficient to suit everyone. Sounds like what might have been expected. Next we will hear of virus-resistance building in the Australian and New Zealand rabbit populations and then we will hear nothing while careers are built on studies of the development of this resistance. As Yogi Berra said, "It's deja vu all over again." (i.e., myxomatosis). -- Mod CHC" [Quote from Promed Moderator Charles H. Calisher, Ph.D. Moderator, ProMED-mail, Arthropod-borne and Infectious Diseases Laboratory Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523]
    [1] (RCD/Rabbit Heamorrhagic Disease escaped from Wardang Island off the coast of South Australia in 1995 to become a new and deadly killer of pet and wild rabbits in Australia)

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