EDITORIAL: Grass isn’t greener for rabbits on TCH

Rabbits continue to multiply on the side of the Helmcken off ramp in View Royal and it’s not Mother Nature at work – well, not entirely.

Rabbits continue to multiply on the side of the Helmcken off ramp in View Royal and it’s not Mother Nature at work – well, not entirely.

Efforts by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and a local group of volunteers saw captured almost all of the rabbits that previously inhabited the area, with the intention of spaying or neutering the animals then sending them to a private sanctuary in Texas.

While some would argue their efforts are a waste of time and money, it’s a passion project nonetheless and who are we to say what people can or can’t be passionate about – or what causes to which they choose to donate.

This group is not causing anyone harm by rescuing and relocating the abandoned rabbits. If anything, they are helping to right a wrong committed by others.

But members of the public continue to abandon rabbits alongside that stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway, prompting the ministry to put its foot down after roughly 20 additional adult rabbits appeared in the area.

Earlier this week, the ministry announced that if more animals continue to be left at the site, it would be forced to find alternative measures to deal with the rabbits, including euthanization.

Up until now, the volunteer group, backed with private donations, has offered to foot the bill for relocating the rabbits.

But their funds will only go so far and this project was meant to be a one-time solution, not a long-term rescue operation and not something that will turn into a drain on taxpayers’ money.

And rabbits cannot continue to live stay at Helmcken, that is clear. Their burrows undermine the integrity of the roadways and surrounding sidewalks. Their floppy ears and fluffy tails also distract some motorists, and the lunacy of stopping at the edge of a busy highway to feed or visit the animals is obvious.

It’s an unsafe situation that the ministry says must end, and we agree, it’s time to find greener pastures for these animals. It’s also time for people unable to care for their rabbit pets to find more suitable homes for them.

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