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Editorial W.Bessei – Housing and welfare of growing rabbits. Part I – Groups size, space requirement and floor type

Prof. Dr. Werner Bessei


W. Bessei Professor em. Farm Animal Ethology and Small Animal Science.
Contact: werner.bessei@uni-hohenheim.de

The traditional housing system for intensive rabbit production is based on cages with wire floor or plastic slats. Following the ban of conventional cages for laying hens, animal welfare organisation in Europe focussed their activity on caging of growing rabbits and does, regardless of the risks of diseases and aggression borne damages in non-cage systems.

National rabbit welfare regulations have already led to a sharp drop in rabbit production in Switzerland and Germany. These regulations may be used as blueprints for welfare legislation in other countries animal species.

The present debate on rabbit welfare may not only be relevant for rabbits but also for the development of other farm animal species.

Professor Zsolt Szendrö is a well-known scientist in rabbit management and behavior.
We are glad that he is prepared to share his long-term experience in the present article.