It’s so distressing seeing the rabbits pace back and forth, frantically biting the bars of their small cages. It makes such a noise when they throw themselves around their ‘cells’ in frustration and buck at the floors. Travelling here I see wild rabbits running across the fields, their lives a million miles from this place.
18 new rabbits arrived today, all young males. They seemed petrified, backing into the corner of the transit boxes. They were assigned a number and placed into virtually barren metal cages alone. Many of the rabbits just cowered in the dark corners. I feel so sorry for them.
My first task today was transferring the rabbits from their cages to stocks for the pyrogen test. It‘s horrible picking the unlucky animals. I had to hold them while a technician injected a substance into their ears. One rabbit became upset and struggled a lot; after three attempts the technician had to use his other ear. Afterwards I watched as the rabbit in the next stock attentively groomed him.
Today was “conditioning” for four new rabbits. They have to endure a period of time in the stocks prior to being used in pyrogen testing. It was so sad watching as some of them desperately struggled, clearly bewildered by what was happening.
A loud heart-wrenching scream sent me flying down the corridor to the pyrogen room. I couldn’t believe a rabbit could make such a sound. I saw a member of staff struggling to re-insert a temperature probe into the rabbit’s anus. The probe had fallen out and the poor rabbit was clearly in pain.
A member of staff had problems with pyrogen injecting today. Some rabbits suffered repeated attempts as she became more and more exasperated. One rabbit called Hamish kicked and struggled - this was his first test. The person cursed at them, calling one a “disgrace” and another “stupid.” To one rabbit who ended up with punctured ears she said, “It’s your own stupid fault. I told you you were going to end up with earrings.” The whole time music was blaring in the background.
I came very close to tears again today when asked to scrub off Edward’s name and number (B978) from his cage. He was one of today’s victims, used in what staff call a ‘one way test’, meaning all the rabbits are killed at the end. At least he is not forced to endure this place any longer. Although his cage will soon be reused, and the endless cycle will continue.