Since living in China I have learnt many “Chinese” facts, and I use quotation marks for good reason, these facts are often seem to be a little unreliable and somewhat ridiculous. However last week I encountered the most unbelievable fact to date.
A young student of mine had brought a rabbit to school, she had bought it from a flower seller, and naturally her mother told her she couldn’t keep it. Let’s face it the mother would end up taking care of it, as the students at the school spend most their time away from home. Most arrive at school on a Sunday evening around 4pm and will stay on the campus until 4pm the following Friday. Not the ideal situation to take of any pet!
Fortunately, the student had found one of her classmates to look after the rabbit, unfortunately she had already left the school for the weekend, forgetting the rabbit! I have always loved animals and by the time my colleagues and I realised the rabbit was going to be stuck in a shoebox in the school over the weekend, I was already holding said rabbit in my arms! Naturally I volunteered to take the rabbit home for the weekend. I started to ask where I could buy a drinking bottle, the pet aisle in the supermarkets in China aren’t very well stocked. “Don’t feed it water!” where the words that left my students mouth! “what!” echoed my colleagues and I, the three of us stood there looking at one another and had to check that we weren’t talking about Gremlins!
Apparently, many Chinese people believe that, rabbits DO NOT need water to survive! In fact, if you give them water it will kill them!! I asked fellow staff members and many students about this, and the majority believed that water kills rabbits! I know now why all the rabbits that my students have bought over the years have all died! I was completely shocked by this statement and couldn’t quite believe it.
Since learning this I have made it my mission to teach all my students that rabbits DO need water, and that all living things need water to survive. Out of all the things that I have learnt or heard about in China, this is probably one of the most shocking! The Chinese people in my school just naturally think that rabbits aren’t supposed to live for very long, which is such a sad, sad thing. This whole experience reminded me of the rabbit (Bud) that I had as a child. We bought him when he was very tiny and he lived between my house and garden for over 6 years. I like to believe he was living the rabbit high live, during the later part of his life he had the full run of the garden to explore, but still had the choice to hop into the house if he wanted to. I feel sad thinking about all the rabbits whose lives have been cut short due to a cultural misunderstanding, I am aware that not all people believe this, but there is still a large population, that generally do believe that they don’t need water!!
Spread the world, save the bunnies!!