Category Archives: Thoughts

Eugenics versus Biodiversity

Though I never thought I had to write any disclaimer as the opening of my post but I had to because of how “sensitive” whatever I write on my own space had become. In fact, expressing my thoughts on my own blog is something I really enjoy and I hope my readers do too. So before you read on, please know that this post entry is written for all the like minded people who take life and the rabbit hobby a little less seriously. It is not for weak hearts or one with extra sensitive emotional sensory.

If you have done any science experiment, you should know that there are a few sections on an experiment journal namely – objective/introduction, materials & methods, hypothesis (what you think will happen), result and a conclusion. Raising and breeding rabbits for the last seven year is nothing short of a long term experiment. There has been so many lessons and I continue to learn.

If I would to write a science journal in its simplest form, it will look a little similar to the following:

1. Objective/Introduction

To produce a rabbit according to the “Standard of Perfection”.

2. Materials & Methods

Materials:

a) Constant supply of Rabbit Feed

b) Vegetables & Fruits

c) Hay

d) Water

e) Two (2) rabbits – a buck & a doe

Methods:

Feed, Water, Breed and Repeat

3. Hypothesis

A herd of rabbits that look exactly the same and in essence resembles the physical traits as describe in writing, the Standard of Perfection.

4. Results

a) None of the rabbit look like the other

b) When two rabbits look almost similar, they behave differently

c) Some are born dead, some peanuts, some runts and some normal

d) Some live longer while some shorter lives

e) Some “perfect” while some have impairments

f) Various colours

and the list goes on…

5. Conclusion

The Standard of Perfection is nothing but perfect.

And what follows in this blog entry can be taken as my explanation of the Conclusion.

To truly understand this blog post, one should read on the topic of Eugenics and Biodiversity. In short Eugenics is a belief and practice that supposedly will improve the genetic composition of a particular species. It has been practised on humans and more largely on other species. I believe Eugenics gave birth to words like “Selective Breeding” and “Cloning”. Dolly the sheep was the outcome of cloning which I believe was the fruit of the experiment to produce an exact carbon copy of a sheep. The hope for cloning is to produce a living being that is “perfect” and can be free from all diseases. The entire practice of Eugenics is to produce something so strong and perfect that will make the world “perfect”. But take a look at what the world is still what it is today. We still have AIDS, cancer and all the viruses mutating into different strains – H1N1 is one of them.

Esther Inglis-Arkell has written something that made perfect sense in her article Why Eugenics Will Always Fail.

The fact is more than obvious. This world is made for diversity and no two living beings are the same. I have grown up being in the midst of identical twins throughout my life and to be honest, even though they are identical twins, I can easily recognize each one. They are just different!

It is a “no brainer” that a living being is made up of so many different categories of traits – physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual, social, intellectual and environmental. Some of these are relevant to animals while others are not but it still boils down to diversity.

And while nature is teeming and bursting with diversity, the question is whether or not we are closing the doors and limiting nature by slapping it with the “Standard of Perfection”?

Are we kidding ourselves with an idea or ideal?

Or are we shaping our minds to accept the unrealistic expectations?

Or we are simply following blindly without reasoning our actions?

Or it all boils down to wanting to belong, to fulfil our longing for affirmation and seeking to fit in the crowd?

Keep asking questions and seeking answers because that is how we learn and grow in life…

In all seriousness though, I hope someone can help teach me to recognize the “rat” gene in certain people so that I will be able to identify those with the more desirable and lovable “hamster” gene. :P

AmberStand

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Love Your Soul

I have to admit that in many occasions, I have been tempted to give up on a lot of things in my life just to accommodate the busy schedule. I believe it is a natural reaction to simplify life or to “de-clutter” when we lose clarity in life. Giving up something that you are passionate about can be very difficult. Passion is what feeds the soul and to give up only means that there will be a dent on your soul.

We can sure be overwhelmed by other commitments and priorities but just like any other feelings, what you are feeling it is temporary and will go away after some time.

As a dear friend puts it, “never make rash decisions that you will regret later and that will ultimately hurt your soul”.

So, whenever you are feeling bogged down and need some revitalizing, take a step back, relax and breath in all the cuteness your pet have to offer…

Luv Me

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More Than Meets The Eye

The statement “More Than Meets The Eye” is made famous by the Transformers cartoon which made its debut in the 1980s. Vehicles turning into robots seemed to have captivated children and adults throughout the world. I believe it all boils down to expectations. No one expected the possibility of a little yellow Volkswagen Beetle to turn into a cute robot and that brings me to the subject of today’s post – expectations.

There are a few occasions throughout the 7 years being in the hobby that I have encountered people who have obtained rabbits from me after being captivated by the photos of cute and cuddly rabbits that I have posted on this weblog. Some of the rabbits lived up to their full lifespan in their new homes but other did not. One reason stood out among the many reasons that these rabbits were returned to me and it was that “he/she is nothing like how you describe rabbits in your blog”.

I guess we all have expectations of our pets. Our judgement may sometimes be clouded by cuteness just like how it was when we first started dating our wife/husband. We can only see all the goodness until we start living together after marriage. When the breeder go through all the necessities, all the eager owners have in their minds is to bring bunny home and miss out on all the important points – that they need to be litter trained, given food that helps reduce odours and the correct way of handling their new pet. It is not surprising that after a couple of days that I should receive distress calls telling me that bunny is urinating all over the place and hates being handled.

Expectations.

A rabbit will never behave like how you want a dog or cat to behave. If you want to have an animal behaving like a dog or a cat, get a dog or a cat but I must say that rabbits do have their own personalities that differs from individual to individual. You just have to “tune in” and get in sync or be vigilant by observing their body language to gauge what he/she is trying to tell you. Rabbits definitely communicate very differently from your regular dog and cat.

While we are at this subject, I cannot help but to also ponder on the question of sustainability. I recently read a post in one of the facebook groups asking why there are many rabbits being put up for adoption – whether it is because of the Easter season or otherwise. In this region I believe that rabbits for adoption is not seasonal as compared to the western countries. When we see that there are rabbits up for adoption, we will always question the reason behind them. I can understand the many reasons and some may make sense while others not. I have come to the conclusion that as long as there is a pet industry, we will never be able to escape from the issues of abandoned and unwanted animals. Crude, but that is reality and it takes everyone to just be the responsible person and do what is right if animal welfare is what we are after.

Expectations.

As pet people, first and foremost our intention and expectation from our pets is companionship. We may want to fulfil our sense of responsibility over another living being. Perhaps keeping something alive is treated as a personal achievement and that gives us joy to see our beloved pet thrive in our hands. Maybe and just maybe, we have the desire to go through the different phases or levels of difficulties in raising animals as pets. For example, Level One is keeping some fishes, Level Two – a hamster, Level Three – a rabbit and slowly graduating to let say – a Tiger?

Whatever the reason, I believe it is all about the expectations we have from our pets.

As for me, I have always been an animal lover and rabbits have always been a part of my life. I find great joy to know that they are happy under my care and they grow and remain beautiful until their last breath. Most of the time, it is the vow I make for each and every rabbit that I own. It is a simple vow that they will live a good life whether under my care or someone else’s I have chosen for them. For those that I have decided to import from the USA, I always make a silent vow and wish in my heart before they are being sent over to me. It is only fair to treat them well because these rabbits go through the long journey and they will have to endure the change of climate which is the toughest element that they will have to get used to.

Through my observation, the rabbit hobby can be quite monotonous in general and having friends can help motivate and keep us interested. Most friends that I know were able to stay in the hobby for a very long time because they spend a lot of time competing in shows and also being involved in helping out in the clubs. More often than not, they enjoy the company of friends.

Very often you will find yourself looking for other activities to complement or supplement the hobby. My advice based on experience is that you should not deviate too far from the focus on your pet as it can get out of hand sometimes. For example, most of us like to purchase a nice skin or cover for our mobile phones and if not careful, you will end up with many that are redundant and not being used.

Besides the usual bunny chores, there are only two other activities that I enjoy doing that is related back to the rabbits – photographing the rabbits and writing on this weblog. I am really happy to have many photographs of my rabbits throughout the year. I had previously made plans to consolidate and produce a photobook for this weblog’s 5th year Anniversary but it did not happen.

This year being the 7th year in the hobby, I finally had the time to order a photobook to commemorate and celebrate the best rabbits that I have owned throughout the years and also friends I have made in the hobby.

PhotoBook

 

May you also find a reason to stay in the hobby.

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Rabbit Savvy Vets: The Catch 22 Situation

For the vast majority of us raising pets, these animals tend to be “infused” into our lives and they become a part of the family. We as pet owners care for them and want the best for them. The slightest sign of sickness would throw our day’s routine upside down and our hearts/minds become burdened and worrisome until we know for sure our beloved pets are well on the way to recovery.

Up until today, throughout the world, rabbit owners are still struggling to find rabbit “savvy” veterinarians. Rabbit savvy veterinarians are very rare due to the nature of veterinarian practice and how much opportunities they are given or exposed to. I have written about the main reason why not many vets are well-versed with rabbits and it still remains the same today. The main reason most people do not send their sick rabbits to vets is because the cost of treatment can be higher than replacing the sick rabbits. Sadly, that is the attitude of many pet owners in general. But that has changed over time. We now have rabbit owners that are willing to seek the best healthcare for their rabbit but unfortunately, we do not have many vets who are good with rabbits which are considered as exotic animals.

Because of how precious our pet rabbits are to us, it is impossible for us to subject them as experimental or learning subjects for vets that are willing to “try” treat them. At the same time, without practice, they will never learn and we will never have vets that can treat rabbits. A catch 22 situation.

We all know how vulnerable rabbits are and being animal of prey, the moment they show signs of sickness like curling up at the corner of the cage or have stopped eating, most of the time it could mean that they are in dire need to medical attention. More often than not we are down to a 50:50 chance battle.

I often think about emergency situations while raising Holland Lops for the past 7 years and to be very honest, I found that there are not many choices. Treatments are usually either invasive or non-invasive. Invasive may be in the form of surgery and placing a sick rabbit under surgery would be similar to euthanasia. Most of the time it would be non-invasive and treatment with careful doses of drugs. We depend a lot on the expertise of veterinarians to diagnose and prescribe the best combination of drugs.

Again, we might only have about 50% chance to bring bunny back to recovery mode. What if we are faced with the other 50% and lose our bunny after giving our best shot?

While mourning the death of a beloved pet, it is only normal that we question how and why, the should and could haves will play constantly on our minds. But I must say that there are many variables that can cause death in animals under treatment. Like humans, it also depends on how the body reacts to treatment. There is also the element of the type of drug used. The potency of the drug down to the chemical content of the drug. It is very difficult to pin point the real reason unless a post-mortem is done. What good is a post-mortem when our beloved pet has already passed on? Unless we want to learn so that we can avoid a repetition of such situation, a post-mortem would be a reasonable decision.

I felt that veterinarians have taken a lot of blame under many different circumstances. Not only here in Malaysia but many places throughout the world especially with Internet and how much information is on our fingertips. Then there are the forums as well. We really have to understand that a cry for help on cyberspace will most probably be responded by numerous advices from a vast number of different experiences, each unique to a its own scenario (variable). We have to analyse all the responses very carefully before concluding which should be the best solution. A vet on the other hand, have to face a situation real-time and react the best he/she can not under a virtual environment but real life scenario. The reason why they do what they do as vets is because they are trained under such circumstances and we as pet owners must trust their decision which is made with their vast experiences and knowledge.

If a treatment fails and we lose our beloved pet, I believe that as pet owners, it is our responsibility to be open and share our thoughts with the veterinarian who have treated our pet. I feel that it is very important firstly for our closure of losing a pet and secondly, there will be something that everyone can learn from our experience. By sharing with the vet openly and honestly, it will help the vet understand the situation better, and if it was a mistake, to learn from it and be a better vet. Most often than not, we tend to shun our vets and the only thing they will learn is that they are getting less customers coming to their practice after words of their (one) alleged mistake spread in cyberspace. I believe that is very unfair and counter productive. We should seek clarification to dispel our own assumptions. We should also respect vets who are willing to learn, admit their mistake and never afraid to face any situation head on. The least we can do is tell them of our concerns and hope they will be receive them in good faith. I always believe that there is an opportunity to learn from every situation and unless we share the knowledge, we will never grow. I might lose a pet under certain circumstances today, but if I share the situation and learn from it together with my vet, somewhere down the road, the knowledge can be used to save more lives.

Let us not keep our grieves to ourselves but turn it into something positive while we find closure for losing our beloved pets.

I am not asking you to volunteer your pet rabbit as an experimental subject for vets but if you have chosen a good vet for your pet, please follow through and have an open communication policy with them. A good vet will and should always be open to discussion and willing to clear any doubts that you have.

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Which Do You Prefer, Dead Or Alive?

If asked to pick one from the following, which will you choose?

Picture taken from gas2.org/

Picture taken from gas2.org

Picture taken from zastavki.com

Picture taken from zastavki.com

Both are mustangs in different forms and both are magnificently gorgeous!

I don’t know why but for some reasons, I tend to choose to have the real horse because since from a very young age, I am always drawn to animals. While growing up, most of my friends in high school were into cars and down to the very technical details. As for me, I spent most of my time raising dogs, cats, green iguanas, hamsters, fishes, sugar gliders, hedgehogs and everything in between – rabbits of course!

My rationale, it is better to spend money on something alive than dead!

I like taking the responsibility to keep pets alive and ensuring that they not only thrive but live very long and healthy lives. It gives me a great sense of achievement to have companion animals live through their full lifespan. On the contrary, I totally hate spending money maintaining a car, have it breakdown, burst a tyre and feeding it expensive fuel throughout its lifespan.

We live in a very digitized and materialized world. We move in such a high paced world and have no time to pause for another living being. Most of the time, our jobs tend to take so much time from us that our lives seemed to be drained from all the stresses. We have become people that shun responsibilities and inconveniences. Picking up our pets’ poop seemed to be an inconvenience though we can make a choice to get them litter trained (initial time investment). It is due to convenience that we saw the birth of the Tamagotchi (if you remember), Furby and the many toys that mimics pet animals. They all come with less hassle and just consume little battery power.

As I was walking around the toy store over the weekend, I saw something that reminded me about this simple choice in life.

Between the very much alive and the mechanically alive, which will you choose?

Dead Or Alive?

Dead Or Alive?

On the left is what I saw at the toy store and on the right is one of my daughter’s pet hamsters.

That goes to show that until today, I still choose and prefer LIFE!

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Animal Rights Activists Need To Rethink

There is a little “activist” in each animal lover. We all tend to get angry and feel compelled to react to any incident of animal abuse. But at the same time, we tend to forget that we might have helped or contributed directly or indirectly to the cause of these abuses.

For example, we all get excited whenever there is an pet expo/fair. I have friends who totally boycott such events because live stock are sold openly and most of the time there are no regulations as to how the animals are caged. Since I have always like and intrigued by animals, I used to visit these expos and fairs until recently due to my busy schedule.

With better clarity of the situation now, I can safely conclude that there are many sources and causes to animal welfare problems. Abuses, neglect, abandonment and many other problems take root from overpopulation and animals being treated as commodity.

And up until today, I am still trying to figure out how to strike a balance and whether or not I am indirectly or directly causing and supporting people that are causing the same problems we are trying to avoid.

What if I told you that the event that you are promoting is organized by the same people who are causing the problems you are trying so hard to render your assistance? You may be spending most of your time volunteering to re-home abandoned dogs but at the same time you are encouraging people buying from unscrupulous sources.

I do not know about hardcore animal activists. I do not think they own any pets but if they do, I wonder where they get their pets in the first place.

By you re-homing abandon animals, do you think that your action may encourage unethical breeders to breed even more since there are demands?

I do not know about you but I am very careful what I promote these days be it on this weblog or on my facebook account as I do not want to waste my resources “helping” someone else create more problems.

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Culling Most Foul

I am not sure if you have watched the video of Marius being “dissected” in front of a group of zoo goers. I regret watching it because it is really disturbing and is beyond my imagination how a giraffe can be slaughtered and “sliced apart” like your regular live stock. I do consume beef, mutton and chicken just as long as I do not see how they are killed. But a giraffe?!

Taken from the World Wide Web through Google Search.

Taken from the World Wide Web through Google Search.

How can someone possibly kill (without remorse) such an innocent face and have it sliced to pieces before feeding lions with one of the pieces?

This is beyond my imagination, and that my friends, is a form of culling!

Culling a sick animal to relief it from all that it is suffering can be considered humane but to kill a poor little helpless, healthy giraffe bred in captivity is too cruel in my opinion. Killing it to avoid narrowing the gene pool is unacceptable in my opinion. He should be transferred to another zoo if they are really sincere and genuine in conservation of this otherwise majestic animals.

How I wish the world is a little more compassionate…

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Obituaries

I know at first glance at the title of this post, many will be wondering what happened to my rabbits. Rest assured that this post has nothing to do with rabbit related deaths.

There are a few things that I dislike whenever I am doing bunny chores.

I do not know about you but I use a lot of newspapers in my rabbitry. Newspapers are used to line litter and cage trays to keep them clean and less effort needed to clean the next time. To a certain extent, newspapers can help mask odour (just a little).

The one thing that I dislike most is discovering that the stack of newspapers I am about to line the trays with are made up of the Obituaries centrefold. This situation usually catches me off guard and for a while, it usually makes me wonder whether I should pause a moment to say a prayer for the deceased or apologize that my bunny will urinate or/and defecate on his/her face.

What would you do?

orbituary

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Firecrackers

Year in and year out, the common complain during festives season for rabbit owners in Malaysia is the stress caused by firecrackers.

There has been some incidences of rabbit deaths due to the loud noises. It is not uncommon for such deaths to happen because rabbits can easily be shocked by sudden loud noises.

I for one have been advocating how breeders and owners should raise rabbits accustomed to the environment. Given the multiracial settings of Malaysia, fireworks can be expected at least 3 times a year during the Chinese New Year, Eid and Diwali. If we are not careful, we can lose up to 3 rabbits per year to suddent death caused by loud noises.

Just like how most breeders are not able to get their rabbits into prime condition in our constant warm weather, rabbits should also be “trained” to survive the firecracker seasons.

How I do it?

I use the vacuum cleaner a lot especially where my rabbit is. Since birth, my rabbits are exposed to the loud vacuum cleaner sound on a daily basis. No, I do not mean turning on the vacuum cleaner next to their ears but I go about cleaning the space with it. It works well for me and I have no fear that any of my rabbits going into a fit hearing the loud firecracker noises.

It goes without saying and I cannot emphasize enough how one should have pets that complement his/her lifestyle and not having to go out of the way accommodating them.

Hope my tip can save more unneccesary deaths and of course, reduce the same rantings and grumbles every year.

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Swift Like Kung Fu

January is truly the time when everything is being renewed. I just ordered my membership renewal with the ARBA for another 3 years and that made me realized how fast time has crept up on me. Though the membership does not bring much tangible benefit to me at the moment, I still feel happy making the numbers count. It is nice to be apart of such a huge organization grown out of a wonderful hobby. There are always opportunities to grow further whenever I am ready to venture more into the hobby by ensuring my membership does not lapse. Besides, the Domestic Rabbit magazine do provide a lot of information that helps me keep abreast with the latest developments in the hobby.

Soon it will be Chinese New Year. I remember not too long ago, it was the year of the Rabbit and it was such a busy year for the rabbits and I. We were so busy participating in interviews and photography sessions. This year being the year of the Horse, I believe that horse stables around the country are getting a lot of attention at the moment with journalists trying to write a little more about the animal. Though the rabbit is out from the limelight this year, my father seemed to be at centre stage each year with his captivating paintings. Horse being his favourite painting subject, he painted quite a sizeable collection this year. Please feel free to browse through his works at www.simonchanart.wordpress.com. You will notice a few different painting styles as you go through his “online gallery”.

In the blink of an eye, we are all a year older and so are the rabbits. It scares me to think that they are growing old too quickly and that I might be bidding them farewell.

Murdoch is now over 2 years old and at his “prime” age. As I was going through old photos stored in the computer, I found a photo of him as a little wee bunny. He was so adorable back then and he still is although he is going through quite a major moult right now.

Murdoch

Murdoch in 2012

Murdoch in 2014

Murdoch in 2014

Here wishing all celebrating the Chinese New Year safe travels and Gong Hei Fatt Choy. May the new year brings you prosperity, joy and health!

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