Baby and big white bunnies need homes! Adopt a white rabbit—this weekend!  »

Vegansaurus pal Emily has tiny baby foster bunnies that, as of Friday, will be old enough for you to adopt! They are classic white rabbits of the Alice in Wonderland variety and so cute I can’t even handle it. My long, rabbit-less years are a trial unto me, you guys. Someday I will adopt a rabbit and we will be best friends and finally my life will be complete.

What’s up with these bunnies? Emily says that they’re an accidental litter from one of the meat-rabbits living on ONLY RICE in Oakland. After these 22 rabbits were rescued by Oakland Animal Services at the end of June, a few of them were found to be pregnant. Emily is fostering the remaining four kits; they were originally a litter of nine, who Emily fed by syring when they weren’t eating on their own, but still only four made it. If you want to adopt one of these little precious perfect angels, Emily’s working with SaveABunny, though as of publishing time they’re not on the site.

Emily says,

White, red-eyed rabbits—like black cats, tan chihuahuas, and pit bulls of all colors—are known for being hard to get adopted. And there’s no good reason! White bunnies are often passed by by adopters looking at cute, tiny, fluffy, or lop-eared bunnies bred for looks.

Rabbits bred for looks (like dwarves or lionheads) have varying temperaments and are prone to health problems, but big white buns are generally hearty (rabbits can live 10 to 15 years) and are almost always amazingly sweet. They make good rabbits for households with children, because they are less likely to be afraid of grabbing little hands than little bunnies are.

To that end, Oakland Animal Services is having a white rabbit adoptathon this weekend! On Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. at OAS HQ (1101 29th Ave., between E. 12th and E. 10 sts. in Oakland), all white rabbits are adoptable for just a $10 fee. That is so little money for a bunny! Check out their bunnies online and see how many are white! Quite a few! You can also bring in your bunnies for a free nail-trimming, and maybe to meet their future best rabbit pal. Contact OAS for further information on this weekend’s adoption event. Contact Emily directly to learn more about adopting the baby buns.

[photo courtesy Emily via Flickr. See more of the bunnies here]


Op-Ed: Legal backyard slaughter in Oakland? Screw that!  »

This backyard livestock slaughter thing in Oakland is serious. There are actually folks advocating that Oaklanders must be allowed to raise and kill animals to eat because—well—they don’t even know.

One such advocate group is the Oakland Food Policy Council. In its recent “Statement on Urban Agriculture" the OFPC indicates strong support for "the integration of animals into urban food production systems because they provide products that can improve the diets of Oakland’s residents (e.g. fresh milk, honey, eggs, and meat)." "Integration of animals into urban food production systems"? Can I get a translator please?

"Integration" means we allow animals to be crammed into backyards throughout Oakland. Some of these animals will be named, stroked, and cuddled before they are killed, while others will suffer a more factory-farm-style life of abuse and neglect—just in a different zip code and (hopefully) without thousands of their cousins alongside them. They all meet the same fate, though, because these Oakland animals have now become part of the "urban food production system".

"So what’s wrong with that?" they say. "I’m hungry and I need to eat meat." Well, a few things are wrong with that, particularly in a dense urban environment like Oakland:

  1. People don’t need to eat meat, certainly not people living in the Bay Area. Eating animals here is a choice.
  2. My grandparents had a farm. It was roughly 250 acres. They had cows, sheep, and chickens. Each animal group had its own section, the cows with the most room to roam about. Which brings up one of the big problems with urban livestock: Is there a 250-acre backyard in Oakland? If your Oakland backyard is like mine, there is room for a couple of tomato plants and a crappy commuter bike. Where do we fit the chickens, sheep, goats, cows, rabbits, ducks, geese, quail, etc.? It is cruel to force animals into small cages for their entire existence—we don’t allow people to treat dogs or cats this way.
  3. There are undoubtedly many farmers who legitimately care about their animals. But having seen some of the heinous things people do to the animals we call pets in Oakland, I cannot fathom the level of abuse against so-called livestock animals in Oakland by the folks who really don’t care. Even if the livestock animals are not abused in the same way as the pets (seems unlikely but let’s assume it’s true), the simple designation “livestock” results in a whole new category of violent and disturbing treatment. For example, why is it OK to breed chickens and goats in your backyard and throw away the male offspring, when the same practice applied to dogs and cats would be considered outrageous? And even if there were tight restrictions, who would be there to enforce them? Animal control is already overburdened with the existing cases of abuse, neglect, and abandonment of pets. How could they possibly have time to peek into every backyard to make sure the chickens can still walk or the goats have enough room to turn around?
  4. It’s not just about you when you live in an urban environment; our neighbors have needs as well. One of those needs is to be free from disease and pandemic. Animals packed into backyards will attract other unwanted animals, like rats, that can quickly infest an entire neighborhood. Another urban neighbor’s desire is to live in an environment without offensive odors or sounds. I don’t mind the sound and smell of a pig, goat, or chicken, but some people do, and I have to imagine pretty much everyone would have a big problem with the terrified screams or squawks of a animal being killed next door. Forget about escaped or abandoned animals cruising Telegraph Ave.—what about feral chicken colonies?
  5. f you really want to “improve the diets of Oakland’s residents” encourage a plant-based diet. There is ample and compelling evidence that meat isn’t good for you. No need to rehash it here; watch the movie Forks Over Knives, you’ll get the point.

So yeah, I have a problem with the cruel and inhumane treatment of animals as backyard livestock, the possibility of disease and nuisances like feral chicken colonies, the awful cries of an animal in fear of its life reverberating through my neighborhood, and the inability of any authority to stop it. I’ll have to act in opposition to the “integration of animals into urban food production systems” in Oakland. Please join me in signing and sharing the petition to "Prevent the Proliferation of Backyard Livestock and Animal Slaughter in Oakland." We need to let the good people who run Oakland know that we’re all for a sustainable and healthy food system here, but the extreme suffering and killing of animals cannot possibly be sustainable or healthy.

Tim Anderson is a proud citizen of Oakland where he lives with his partner, their three dogs, tomato plants, and an herb garden. He is a regular volunteer photographer with Oakland Animal Services. If you want to get involved with all this nonsense, you can email him!


Bay Area pit bull lovers: NOW is the time to adopt!  »

I don’t know if any of you saw this San Francisco Chronicle story about the terrified and emaciated and covered-in-blood-and-bruises pit bulls who were found in the back of an East Oakland home? It’s really fucking sad and upsetting and we should all be heartbroken and pissed. If you’ve ever known and loved a pit bull (and to know a pit bull is to love a pit bull because these mofos are the BEST), this is especially devastating. Bullies thrive on love and really crave human attention and affection and so to be so abused and neglected, UGH FUCK YOU WORLD. However, one of the greatest things about pit bulls is how resilient they are. Not many other breeds (or say, humans) can be abused to the brink of destruction and then bounce back and choose to love again. They are so trusting and loving, these cute-ass little tail-waggers OMG I LOVE PIT BULLS SO MUCH. When I first started volunteering at shelters, I was kinda scared of them without any real basis, except for OMG PIT BULLS. The more I walked and fostered the breed, the more I saw how fucking awesome they are. They are so fucking awesome. I’ve fostered hundreds (literally hundreds) of pit bulls since 2000, and I’ve never had anything but fantastic experiences with all of them. So the next time someone is talking any shit on the breed, send their asses to me and we will tussle. Or I will rationally explain to them why they’re racist. DONE and DONE.

ADOPT A PIT BULL! They make the absolute best dog friends ever and you do your own small form of activism every time you walk down the street with your pal. People can meet and talk to a real life pit bull and see that they aren’t the scary monsters from the 10 o’clock news. Plus, they are excellent at cleaning the floor, and make terrific supplemental heaters in the winter. OH, and they snore SO CUTE. When a human snores, I want to throw them out a window, but when Hazel snores, MY HEART I CAN’T TAKE IT.

So adopt a pit bull today, already! Or a pit mix! You will not regret this decision, trust me. And if adopting seems too scary, contact a rescue group about fostering. All the love without all the commitment! I get it; commitment is scary and dying alone is a more pleasurable option. Anyway, DO IT.

[photos via Oakland Animal Services; Fifi by Sarah Atkins Photography]


There’s some bunny for everybody  »

We got an update on the from the Oakland Animal Services about the success of their recent adoption event. Guess what! Simone that sassy kitty with her tongue sticking out got adopted! But guest what else: Marshmallow the bunny did not (sad face).

Marshmallow’s picture here made quite a splash with the Vegansaurs, as he’s the cutest bunny ever! But it turns out the adoption event was just for cats and dogs—no bunnies included! So there are still plenty o’ bunnies available for adoption at OAS. I’m sure most readers are totally aware that you can adopt bunnies, gerbils, rats, et al. from shelters, but I think the general public doesn’t really know that. Everyone knows you can adopt cats and dogs, but pet stores have the little furries readily available, and I think that’s the first place many people think to look. Of course if pet stores didn’t sell these animals, that would change everything. There are plenty of pet stores that promise not to sell cats and dogs but some of these same stores still sell tiny pets. Why the discrepancy? We need to organize some kind of awareness campaign! So that everyone knows there are homeless pets of all sizes! Get on that!

Now, my pals, let me introduce some of the bunnies available because there’s always room for cute bunny pictures in your day!

This is Barkley doing his “say whaaaat?” pose.

This is Bounce and Downey. I call this one, “Can’t we all just get along?”

This is Momo and Breeze—totally Usual Suspects, right?!

Finally, here’s Zeppole! I don’t call this anything but adorable.

If you are looking for a bunny, always go to your local shelter! I know, “duh Megan,” but you should also spread this message to the masses! Sing it from coast to coast! No bunny left behind!

Alright, PSA over, let’s discuss the cuteness!


Oakland Animal Services Adoptathon! It’s a free fur all!  »

Oh fur puns, I love it! Guess what else I love: adoptable animals! Oakland Animal Services is having a "Maddie’s Matchmaker Adoptathon" this weekend (June 12 and 13), sponsored by Maddie’s Fund, an adorable charitable organization based in Alameda. Maddie’s Fund is going to pay all adoption fees for dogs and cats this weekend PLUS they will donate $500 for every successful OAS adoption at the adoptathon. $500?! That’s a lotta bones!

As a favor to you, I have previewed all the adoptable animals and OMG the cuteness! Here is Marshmallow, the most adorable bunny ever! Where’re your eyes, Marshmallow?! WHERE ARE YOUR EYES?!

Below we have Simone, a sassy senior cat! Nice tongue action, Miss Sassypuss! To her right is Dusty, who is OMG ADORABLE KILL ME! Guys, I would totally adopt every animal in the world if I had the space/competency. They are so cute and need homes! So if you are in the market, get to this event. And send me pictures of who you adopt because I can live vicariously through you! Party!

[Thanks for the heads-up, Pawesome!]


A pit bull doing a head stand STFU I LOVE YOU. The video was taken at Oakland Animal Services (aka, THE POUND) but don’t worry, Newman (yes, that is his name! SO CUTE!) was adopted! GO ON, SIR! Read more about Newman on BadRap because you want to.

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