For most people, rabbits are little bundles of joy and cuteness that are just made for them to pet, cuddle, and play with. For others, they are a nice pack of nutrients. Whether you are a parent, hunter, farm owner, or an accidental by-passer, it is merciful to put a rabbit out of its misery when finding it injured.
The best and most humane way to kill an injured rabbit and put it to rest is the one that offers the least amount of pain. There are a few ways to do so, and you only need to choose the method you believe is the most painless for this dear creature.
Why Kill the Rabbit?
There are three primary reasons why to kill a rabbit, including:
This reason rarely includes rabbit injuries, and people often kill this animal when it destroys their gardens. It is known that bunnies enjoy running around and nibbling veggies, making gardens demolished. In such a case, killing these animals should be your last resort. Remember that finding a way to protect your property is always a better option.
The second reason for killing these small animals is to use them as food. Hunters and farm owners often eat rabbits since their meat is packed with nutrients, particularly valuable proteins. Besides being highly nutritious and healthy, their meat is also an incredibly delicious ingredient in numerous dishes.
However, choosing the right way to kill this animal significantly affects the meat taste. Be aware that stress releases adrenaline and other endocrine hormones that trigger FIGHT OR FLIGHT responses. These hormones make the meat less tasteful and harder to cook.
Illness or injury
The third and final reason to kill a rabbit is in situations when they are too sick or injured. If the vet is too far, or you estimate that the rabbit’s condition is too poor without chances to recover, you won’t have many options. As harsh as it may seem, killing it is the best option you can choose because leaving an animal to die long and painfully is much worse.
Humane Ways to Kill an Injured Rabbit
There are probably myriad ways to kill a rabbit, but not all are humane. Always pick out the fastest and most painless way to do it and cut the animal’s suffering. No one can say which method is the most appropriate in this case, but it depends on you and the reason for the killing.
For instance, there is no need to take care of damaging the muscle when your goal is to help the rabbit. The procedure is different if you plan to cook it.
In such a case, you should look for a method that won’t negatively affect meat tenderness. Remember that meat tastes differently, depending on the killing way you choose.
1. Arterial bleed method
This method is the best option you have when your goal is to get soft and delicious meat. However, it is also an entirely painless way to kill an injured rabbit in the most human way possible. Be prepared that you won’t kill the animal instantly this way but slowly put it to sleep.
Putting the animal on the floor or the other flat surface is necessary before cutting its jugular veins with a sharp knife. This way, the animal’s blood pressure will gradually and steadily drop. Soon after the rabbit enters death throes, you will know it is finished.
If you want to use the animal for food, the next step is to cut off its head and hang it upside down. Be prepared that all the blood will leave the body within a minute or two.
2. Broomstick method
Many people use this method since it doesn’t pierce through any piece of muscle. That way, you won’t damage the meat when killing the rabbit for the meal. It is also an excellent option to end the suffering of a sick or injured rabbit if you experience trouble cutting off its head.
This method makes the animal’s death quick and without much suffering. The best solution is to place it on the floor with a broomstick on the back of its neck. The next step is to put feet on both ends of the broomstick and pull the animal’s head upwards until its neck dislocates.
Be prepared that the rabbit’s eyes will probably still be open in the end, making this procedure a bit scary. However, you can be sure it is dead if you have done everything right. The thing is that the move upward is too quick, and the animal typically has no time to close its eyes.
3. Bowl method
This method is similar to the previous one, but you need to use a bowl instead of a broom. It is an easy, quick, and painless method, but it is appropriate only for young rabbits up to six weeks old. Vets often use this solution for killing deformed or sick baby bunnies.
Place the rabbit on a hard, flat surface before properly setting the bowl over its head. Always turn it upside down so the sharp, narrow edge goes along its neck. The only way to use this method without letting the rabbit suffer is to pull its legs upwards with one swift move while the other hand presses down on the bowl.
It will bring cervical vertebra dislocation, killing the rabbit instantly. Once you are finished, checking whether the spinal cord is cut and the head fully separated from the body is crucial. If you fail to perform this procedure right, the rabbit won’t die, and its agony will become even more horrible.
4. Fatal blow
To use the fatal blow method, you need to be sure of your precision, strength, and hand coordination. When done right, this method is effective, painless, and instant. Unfortunately, poorly performed and sloppy action will only handicap the poor animal and increase its suffering.
The best option is to grab the rabbit for the hind legs and hold it in the air upside down. Its back must be straight and form a V with the ears placed upright. The point you look for is located on the back, between the head and the shoulders.
Once you determine it, it is crucial to strike hard and fast to achieve a fatal blow. Only that way will you protect the rabbit from unnecessary suffering.
5. Knife method
This particular method works only with young rabbits, thanks to their undeveloped and non-ossified spinal vertebrae. The older rabbit’s spine is too hardened for a knife to go through quickly.
It is necessary to pick out a big and sharp knife for this procedure. Put the rabbit on a hard surface and hold it firmly with one hand. Then, make a swift, clean move with a knife while holding it in the other hand and precisely cut the animal’s head off to prevent unnecessary suffering.
6. Euthanasia chamber
A euthanasia chamber is probably the most humane method on the list but requires buying the device. Be aware that it is costly, and only vets have it in most cases.
There is one more problem. Even though this method sounds humane, it is unfortunately not always reliable. It may happen that an animal only passes out and revives at some point later.
Therefore, determining the appropriate chamber size, the amount of used carbon dioxide, and the period the rabbit should stay inside are essential. These parameters depend on the animal’s age and strength.
The only thing to do to finish the procedure correctly is to put the rabbit in the chamber and wait for it to die slowly. Like with the arterial bleed method, the rabbit will gradually fall asleep. Always check the pulse after taking it out of the chamber to be sure the animal is genuinely dead.
This method is suitable only for experienced shooters and hunters. It is not the cleanest option to kill the rabbit but the quickest way to help it out of its misery. Take a weapon, preferably a .22 caliber suitable for a close range, point it to the animal’s head or chest, and pull the trigger. That’s it.
8. Bag method
This method is the least humane of all others on the list. However, people with little to no experience killing a rabbit prefer it. They put the rabbit in a bag and slam the bag to the ground.
It is a convenient way to kill a rabbit, but sometimes the first hit doesn’t work. Therefore, it is necessary to repeat it a few times. It sounds horrible, but the method is acceptable if you can kill the animal instantly with one solid hit.
It primarily depends on the rabbit’s size and strength and your readiness and skills. If you are nervous about handling a knife or a gun and are sure that breaking the neck is too much for you, this technique will work fine.
It is hard to kill another living being, especially one lovely bunny. However, it is sometimes necessary to do that when it is ill, injured, and in pain. If there is no way to help the animal, the best option you have is to cut its suffering in the most human way possible.