This Sunday, many well-intentioned parents will purchase live baby bunnies for their children as Easter gifts. Unfortunately, many of these rabbits will wind up at animal shelters once they grow big and the novelty wears off. Some parents will unknowingly fill Easter baskets with candy made from animals when there are other alternatives available. And then there are the eggs: Countless numbers of eggs, produced by hens that spend their entire lives living in cramped cages, will be purchased for the holiday. However, with a little bit of planning, you can make this Easter an animal friendly holiday by considering some of these alternatives.

Don’t buy pet store rabbits. If you decide that your family is ready for a bunny after thoughtful consideration, and you go to a pet store, make sure you ask the pet store where their rabbits originated. Pet stores often get their bunnies from “bunny mills” where rabbits are continuously bred and babies are weaned at a very early age. With all the homeless rabbits waiting for permanent homes, it doesn’t make sense to breed them. Stores like Petco showcase rabbits, but they are all shelter rabbits. Or visit your local animal shelter. Here in Santa Barbara, Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter (B.U.N.S.) is a wonderful organization that cares for stray and abandoned bunnies. B.U.N.S. is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:45 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at 5473 Overpass Rd.. For more information, check out their website at

Purchase animal-friendly Easter baskets. When you’re shopping for goodies for your Easter baskets, opt for an animal-friendly basket. You can purchase marshmallows made entirely from non-animal ingredients from stores like Whole Foods. Vegetarians may not be aware that Peeps contain gelatin, which is boiled animal bones. There are many drug store candies that do not contain animal products: Airheads, Dots, Dum-Dums, Fireballs, Hubba Bubba bubblegum, Jolly Ranchers (lollipops and hard candy), Lemonheads, Mike and Ikes, Runts, Smarties (U.S. brand), Sweet Tarts, Twizzlers, and Zots. If you fill your plastic eggs with some of these candies, you’ll offer a more humane treat.

Instead of coloring regular eggs, use free-range eggs. Ninety-eight percent of egg-laying hens in the United States spend their entire lives in tiny wire cages that are no bigger than a sheet of notebook paper. They are stacked in cages in huge warehouses and most of them never see the light of day. Thanks to Proposition 2, all egg-laying hens in California must be confined in ways that allow them to lie down, stand up, fully extend their wings, and turn around freely and have access to the outdoors. For more information on buying eggs, visit

By choosing the right candy for your Easter basket, purchasing humane eggs, and thinking twice before buying a bunny, you can make a difference for animals this Easter holiday. Wishing you and your family a happy, animal-friendly Easter!

Adoptable Pet of the Week

CocoPuff is a very sweet 7-pound, 8-year-old Chihuahua mix. She is very affectionate and a true cuddle bug. She likes sitting on laps and she gets along well with other dogs. CocoPuff is a very lady-like dog – she doesn’t even bark! She’s the tiny dog version of a high fashion model the way she slowly turns her head from one side to another and the way she holds her head up high. CocoPuff would rather sit demurely on a soft pillow and enjoy the company of nice people and just watch what is going on. She isn’t really into playing with toys. With the right person or family CocoPuff will make a wonderful little loving companion. If CocoPuff sounds like the right dog for you, call 805-222-4459, or visit her at the Santa Barbara County Animal Shelter. To view more photos and information on CocoPuff, and other dogs for adoption, go to the K-9 PALS website K-9 PALS provides free dog behavior training sessions for people who have adopted a dog from any local shelter, rescue organization, or humane society.

K-9 PALS–K-9 Placement and Assistance League, Inc.–is the all-volunteer, no-kill, nonprofit 501C3 organization dedicated to providing humane care, forever homes and advocacy for homeless and abandoned dogs in Santa Barbara County and beyond. All donations to K-9 PALS go directly to benefit homeless and abandoned dogs of our community in order to save lives, and find forever homes for them. Information on K-9 PALS is available at, 805-570-0415, or, or at K-9 PALS, P.O. Box 60755 Santa Barbara, CA 93160-0755. Come see K-9 PALS, and some of the dogs for adoption, at the Earth Day Festival at Alameda Park, April 18 and 19.

Lisa Acho Remorenko is executive director of Animal Adoption Solutions,


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