Huge dog-sized rabbits rescued after being ‘fattened for slaughter on the black market’

A giant floppy-eared rabbit was one of 47 rabbits saved from the cooking pot after an RSPCA raid.

Inspectors said the animals, which included an 8kg rabbit the size of a dog and with seven inch ears, were being fattened for slaughter.

The animal rescue charity found the 47 rabbits stuffed into tiny cages in Ashington, Northumberland, on July 11, and suspected their meat was going to be sold on the black market.

A member of the public raised the alarm after seeing them covered in dirt and struggling to hop around tiny filthy hutches.

RSPCA inspector Trevor Walker, who rescued the animals from an allotment, said: “These poor rabbits were living in cramped and dirty conditions which would have been very unpleasant for them especially in the heat.

“We found hutches covered in filth and bursting with giant animals where they had been left to breed with each other.

“Luckily a vet found they are all in good condition, one is on medication for weepy eyes and a wound on the back of his neck, but we hope they will find loving homes.

“They will make good companion animals as they have a nice temperament.

“Sadly, rabbits are becoming an increasing problem across the RSPCA as we are seeing more and more coming into our care, many as a result of the cost of living crisis.

“We would really urge people to do their research before taking on a pet and also to make sure you get your pet neutered at an early opportunity to prevent unwanted litters of animals – all of these rabbits will be neutered, microchipped and vaccinated before finding new homes.”

Flemish Giant Rabbits are often bred for their fur and meat.

Half the rabbits were adult, while the other half were babies that were crossed with a giant breed, so they could grow even bigger.

The rescued rabbits have now been safely distributed to RSPCA centres around the UK while staff try and rehome them.

The RSPCA says they have seen a 49 per cent increase in the number of rabbits being abandoned in the UK.