I posted yesterday morning about the panic that is growing about an earless rabbit being found near Fukushima. I predicted that it was going to get much worse. I was right. Last night, I even saw an advertisement for a gossip magazine on the subway that talked about the rabbit. (Ha! Blog beats old school mass media - again!)
Well, for your edification, here is a blog post that should blast this nonsense out of the water. It is replete with photos of earless rabbits and links to articles from all over the world since 2003. Earless rabbits are not all that rare of an occurrence! After reading this post and examining the evidence, if you still believe that the earless rabbit born in Japan was definitely born that way due to radiation, then I have a 200 acre, rabbit farm on prime ocean property (with a bridge) to sell you.
This is another example of mass media sensationalism in an attempt to sell advertising and induce panic.
I've done more research and found that earless rabbits are much more common than even I thought. In fact, they are not all that rare at all. Here's proof with links and photos mostly from a rabbit breeders association in the UK.
In Nuclear Panic! Earless Rabbit Born Near Fukushima Panic Ensues! I wrote:
The fact is that earless rabbits, while sometimes rare, are actually not all that unknown. Here's an article about an earless rabbit that pulled at the heart-strings of the readers of a a famous UK newspaper. He was introduced in What's Up Doc? Meet Vincent the Rabbit Born Without Ears.
Now, upon further research, I find a breeders association in the UK called Rabbits United with a thread entitled Earless Rabbits.
One breeder asks:
After a debate on another forum,
I thought i would ask the question over here.
Should an earless rabbit (due to overgrooming by the mother when it is a kit) be culled by breeders as " When breeding, you have to cut out the bad ones" ?
Notice that this debate was also going on, amongst breeders I assume, at another forum.
Later on in the very same forum thread. There is this (entry #6):
Meet Rosie a gorgeous little earless tri coloured Dutch whose ears were chewed off at birth. She has been coming here on her holidays now for over 2 years and is gorgeous, she is no different to any other rabbit apart from her ears and this doesn't seem to impede her in any way so my answer is a definite NO. She also came from a rescue(where she was born) and her owner picked her because she was different to all the other buns.
Rosie - UK earless rabbit 2009
The evidence is strong that the baby rabbit is question near Fukushima is earless because of over grooming by its mother. Baby rabbits are born underground where they stay for at least a month. Here is information about the interesting breeding habits and bizarre occurrences of birthing of rabbits:
The popular notion of the rabbit's breeding capacity is not exaggerated, for it is possible for a doe to produce a litter of three to six young every month. However, this rarely happens, as over half of the young conceived die before they are born, and are reabsorbed back into the mother's body. As I said above the average production rate is about 10 live young per year.
The young rabbits are born below ground, deaf, blind and without fur. The doe visits her stop once a day to suckle the young and when she leaves she blocks the entrance to conserve heat and as a safeguard against enemies. Within a month the young are capable of looking after themselves.
This means that we do not know what happened with the baby rabbit in question during that first few weeks or so when that baby rabbit was underground. Also, did you catch that part where it said; over half of the young conceived die before they are born, and are reabsorbed back into the mother's body. Bizarre! We do not know of the early days of this earless rabbit, we only know that when it did appear from the hutch it was earless.
On the popular Internet photo site flickr, they even have a photo album entitled "Earless rabbit". There are photos of earless rabbits from all over the world there.
And there's much much more! Here's an actual want ad from the UK Daily Echo newspaper on October 17, 2009 about a person who found, not one, but two earless rabbits and is looking for a home for them:
Using this information that we know to be facts, it is very hard to believe that the earless rabbit born in Namie near Fukushima was born earless due to its mother eating irradiated grass. In fact, it stretches the imagination to even entertain the thought.
Earless rabbit, Japan, 2011
One earless rabbit does not make a nuclear crisis.... Though one will do nicely to create a panic!
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