Have a hopping new year!
By Candy Leow
Many Chinese citizens are scrambling to buy pet bunnies to usher in the Year of the Rabbit despite cautions from animal-welfare groups against starting your year with a major flop.
Sales of the furry creatures have doubled in recent months, according to Chengdu's pet shop owners.
They added that the rabbits are bred locally, and also exported to nearby cities like Kunming and Chongqing. Currently, prices range from RMB20 to RMB30 for the more common breeds and could go up to RMB200 or RMB300 for the more exotic breeds.
Viewed as "low maintenance" pets, these furballs could be "complicated creatures" as their unique needs often go underestimated. More importantly, the hype could die down after the festive season, posing the threat of abandonment.
"There's no better time to help rabbits than during the Year of the Rabbit, and you can do so by refusing to support the pet trade that causes so many animals to suffer," said Beijing-based activist Maggie Chen from animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Meanwhile, these creatures have started appearing on the Metro Line 1, in the form of decals on handles.
Reptiles might be in the trend for pet owners next lunar new year. Lizards, beware.