I am heartbroken as I write this - my good friend Charly from IxCHeL Yarn & Fibre has had a devastating loss of many of her beautiful angora rabbits this week, all due to a suspected mutated strain of the calici virus (a manmade virus created to control the wild rabbit population, for which there is a vaccine available - and Charly's bunnies were all vaccinated - but even the literature that comes with the vaccine says that it may not work!)
Charly and her husband Paul have spent the last 7 years carefully breeding and selecting their bunnies, and in the space of a couple of days all their hard work is just gone. I am close to tears even now, a couple of days later, as I think about how this has devastated Charly - this is not only her livelihood, but the bunnies are her babies, they are family to her.
The Australian Government really needs to rethink their policy here - they allow scientists to create dangerous man-made viruses by manipulating biological material (myxomatosis and calici virus) in order to kill wild rabbits without warning, because if a wild rabbit is sick it is not allowed back into the warren to infect the other rabbits. So these viruses act quickly and with very few signs of infection - and it is currently government policy that domestic rabbit owners are not permitted to vaccinate their pets against myxomatosis (presumably for fear that a domestic rabbit will escape and infect the whole wild rabbit population with immunity to it - can we say, "whuuuuuut?") These viruses mutate very quickly, and the virus that killed Charly's rabbits is suspected to be a mutated strain of the calici virus (which the already rather ineffective vaccine does not protect the bunnies against).
In honour of the beautiful bunnies that Charly has lost, I have created a very special pattern for some colourwork mittens using IxCHeL BFL/angora blend yarn. You can find it on Ravelry here:
All proceeds from sales of this pattern will go directly to Charly and Paul to help them begin the long process of rebuilding all their hard work. In addition to this, for the month of June, 50% of the proceeds from all my other patterns will also go to Charly and Paul. Please, if you like my patterns, consider purchasing during June to help my wonderful fibre friend.
In addition I would like to ask you to take a moment to email the Hon. Joe Ludwig, current Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and ask him to stop allowing the manipulation of biological material to create these deadly viruses, and to allow vaccination against myxomatosis for domestic rabbits. So many pet rabbits are lost for no other reason than that the government considers biological warfare to be effective but doesn't think about the consequences (cane toads, anyone?) and then will not allow the owners to protect their pets. There are links to a couple of petitions on Charly's blog that I linked to above, please go read her blog with the full story of what happened and then click on the petitions to sign them! Thank you.