APBC Highlights Concerns Over Rabbit "Whisperer"

Date Released: 

Contrary to recent reports, trancing rabbits is unacceptable. The APBC has joined with national and international behaviour and welfare organisations in condemning one of the techniques used by Cliff Penrose, described as a “rabbit whisperer”.

APBC Chair, David Ryan, warns of the dangers of yet more “whispering”, stating “I am dismayed and disappointed that yet again so called “whisperers” are able to portray outmoded and dangerous methods of interacting with animals as being welfare friendly.”

Trancing rabbits is more correctly known as Tonic Immobility and far from being a relaxed, “hypnotic” trance, research shows that the rabbit is in a state of profound fear, with elevated stress hormones that can have serious consequences for long term health.*

Veterinary text books and rabbit welfare organisations warn against its use except as an alternative to anaesthetic in specific circumstances. Trancing should never be performed for fun or in the mistaken belief that the rabbit enjoys it.

*McBride et al (2007) ‘Hypnosis: A State of Fear or Pleasure?’ CABTSG Study Day Proceedings 2007(38-40).

For further details
David Ryan APBC 07734 446158
d [dot] r [at] tinyworld [dot] co [dot] uk

Release date: 15 April 2010

The APBC, founded in 1989, is the leading organisation in the field of companion animal behaviour and many of its members are at the cutting edge of the latest research into this rapidly growing discipline. The APBC organises a number of seminars and events throughout the year for both the veterinary and behaviour professions. Further information can be found at www.apbc.org.uk.