The aims of this report are to identify the needs of domesticated rabbits and to present information on ways in which the current systems of housing rabbits can be improved for the benefit of all concerned: the animal, the scientist, the animal technician and the breeder.
In recent years an increasing number of establishments have changed from standard caging to group housing systems, despite the traditionally-held view that mature rabbits cannot be housed together. In this report group housing in floor pens is discussed in detail (Section 2), with both the advantages and disadvantages of this system presented. It is recognized that group housing may not always be possible and so in Section 3 ways of improving single-caging systems are also described.
The report summarizes published information and the practical experience of Working Party members. Recommendations are based on both, but where the data are considered inadequate, a majority view is given.
The housing systems and current guidelines referred to in the report have a UK bias. However, the principles discussed and recommendations made are applicable worldwide.
Morton, D. B., Jennings, M., Batchelor, G. R., Bell, D., Birke, L., Davies, K., ... & Koder, P. (1993). Refinements in rabbit husbandry: Second report of the BVAAWF/FRAME/RSPCA/UFAW joint working group on refinement. Laboratory Animals, 27(4), 301-329.