Words of Caution for Buying Rabbits at Auctions and Raffles
by Laurie Stroupe
What is the purpose of an auction or a raffle at a rabbit show? To make money for a club or organization.
What do people who purchase rabbits at auctions or raffles hope to get? A good bunny.
What are auctions and raffles often used for? A means to get rid of rabbits that don’t sell.
Hmmmmm. Something in the formula doesn’t add up.
I bought a rabbit when I first got into bunnies for $85. She was a grand champion. I was so excited. The person misrepresented her age (I should have looked on the pedigree and noticed the extra year) and misrepresented the productive life of a doe (I didn’t know!). She also failed to mention that she no longer produced live babies. I spent months trying to get babies from her and then gave her away as a pet.
I later found out from the original breeder that she had been put into the raffle after she quit producing. She had been placed in the raffle with her pedigree. I believe there were two problems here. First, a rabbit that has stopped producing should not be placed into the raffle. I suppose she might have gone to a show-only home, but if there was a note to that effect, it wasn’t mentioned. I think permanently putting that note on the pedigree might have worked, but perhaps not even that would have helped.
The other problem was the choices the new owner made. The things that were unethical are too numerous to list, but I’m sure you get the gist of it.
I cannot tell you that I never put a rabbit into the raffle that I wouldn’t breed myself. It’s simply not true. When I look back at rabbits I put in the raffle when I first got started, I cringe. I hate the thought that someone is breeding them, especially with my name on them. But it was a learning process. When I first got started, I asked what I could do with rabbits I didn’t want and couldn’t sell, and the raffle was suggested. It seemed like a solution to my problem and I, in all honesty, did not think further than that.
Today, if I put a rabbit into a raffle, he or she has some redeeming qualities that, when bred with the right mate, could produce some nice offspring. No, they are not likely to grand a rabbit they get for a quarter! If I do not think that it has a reasonable chance of producing nice offspring, then I may put it in as a pet with no pedigree (some raffles do not allow pets, so be sure to ask). I do not put animals in the raffle as pets if they do not have a pet personality, however. I do not put in bad teeth, poor health, or other serious problems. And I especially do not put in does that will not have live babies unless that is clearly disclosed.
Auctions are very similar except that I know whoever buys an auction animal will pay more than $1 for it. It’s possible that I may get 50% back as well. And the time and talent that it takes to put on an auction means that the club or organization is looking to raise some serious money on the rabbits, often for a good cause I can get behind.
Back when I was even newer at rabbits than I am now, I bought some rabbits at auction. I had a great time until I got home and found that one had butting teeth. I didn’t notice them right away, but when they started to grow a bit, it became obvious.
(If you are thinking by now that I am gullible and made every mistake in the book, you may be right!)
Do I really have to say that an auction is also not a good place to dump unworthy animals? A rabbit with butting teeth that do not grow out of control may be petted out (though this rabbit was a doe, so that was two strikes against her in my book). She should not have been sold as a pedigreed rabbit.
If all breeders would view raffles and auctions as a chance to contribute to the organizations we all benefit from, I think that things would go better for everyone. Making such a donation should pinch just a little – you should be giving up something that you could possibly benefit from yourself if you wanted to put the time and effort into selling or breeding the rabbit.
Those planning to attend ARBA convention and breed nationals will often have the opportunity to contribute rabbits to an auction. I believe the proceeds go to the national breed club. If you are going, please begin thinking now about a worthy rabbit you can contribute. There have been some lovely rabbits in the past, so I know that many, many of you already believe in donating rabbits with value.