The Interior Provincial Exhibition Association regrets to inform the community we won’t be having the rabbit exhibit this year.  This decision was based on the rabbit hemorrhagic disease that has infected a number of rabbits on Vancouver Island and has now spread to the lower mainland.  It’s a very aggressive disease that is easily carried from people, other rabbits etc.   We wouldn’t want any rabbits to be in danger of contracting this horrible virus disease.  The IPE takes pride in our agriculture at the fair and always have the welfare of the animals at heart.  We have acted responsibly and professionally in making this decision. 


According to the GOC Rabbit hemorrhagic disease (RHD) is a serious viral disease of European rabbits that spreads easily and quickly in susceptible rabbit populations.  Many domestic (pet) rabbit breeds are derived from the European rabbit and susceptible to infection.   High rates of illness and death can occur in exposed rabbits.  The virus spreads among rabbits through secretions including saliva, runny eyes and nose, urine, feces and contaminated bedding, food and water.  It can also be spread by humans, wildlife and insects on contaminated clothing, fur, and other surfaces.  The virus can survive for long periods of time in the environment and remain infectious to animals.


The GOC went on to say, the disease does not affect humans and is not known to affect other animals.  In Canada, RHD has occurred infrequently in domestic rabbit populations and federally is an immediately notifiable disease; laboratories are required to notify the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on the suspicion or diagnosis of the disease.


The IPE looks forward to having the rabbits back to the fair in 2019!


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