Although rabbit meat is not particularly popular in Canada and is decreasing, in 2021 almost 475,000 rabbits were slaughtered for meat.
Like most farmed animals, rabbits are deprived of exhibiting any kind of natural behaviour, are raised in crowded cages often with wire floors, cannot adopt normal postures, and are susceptible to diseases. Does (breeding females) who have been bred produce larger litters and are artificially inseminated within 11 days after giving birth. Does typically die or are culled within a year. Thirty percent of the “fattening” rabbits” die before being slaughtered at eight to twelve weeks.
Up until 2018, there were no codes of practice for the care and handling of rabbits in Canada. On February 15, 2018, the first rabbit code of practice was released by the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). Among the requirements are minimum height and floor space and nesting boxes and materials for the doe. NFACC’s JackieWepruk:“…while the worst cages used to house rabbits by the industry are supposed to be phased out by 2018, most won’t be out of use entirely until 2037.
In addition, the code specifies requirements to enhance the environment (such as gnawing blocks and tunnels,) ventilation systems, lighting and such basics as nutritional feed and clean water.
Codes of Practice are guidelines without legal effect unless they are incorporated into provincial or territorial laws.