Exhibiting a rabbit

You cannot keep a rabbit as a pet in Queensland. However, you can obtain a European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) for the purpose of exhibiting to the public. Under the Exhibited Animals Act 2015 (the Act) rabbits are category B species and may be exhibited in accordance with the Requirements for exhibiting and dealing with a European rabbit in Queensland policy.

You can also apply to exhibit and deal with the rabbit at the premises where the licence is issued to (regular enclosure site). An example may include a zoo where the public enter the regular enclosure site to view the rabbit. Rabbits may also be obtained solely for the purpose of exhibition outside the regular enclosure site. An example of activities permitted solely off the regular enclosure site include persons in the business of conducting magic performances at children's parties.

How to apply to exhibit a rabbit

You can apply to exhibit a rabbit by completing an exhibition licence application.

You will also need to submit a management plan that details information on how you propose to exhibit and deal with the rabbit on a daily basis. Identifying the animal management issues relevant to animal welfare, human health, safety and wellbeing, social amenity, the economy and the environment are all key concepts that would need to be covered in a management plan. These key concepts refer to the relevant risks and adverse effects of exhibiting and dealing with the species and are referred to as your 'general exhibition and dealing obligation'.

An example of information which must be addressed in the management plan would include:

  • travel enclosure details
  • details of the regular enclosure at the regular enclosure site
  • management of the welfare risks associated with keeping and transporting the rabbit as well as ensuring the risks of escape are minimised.

How rabbits are categorised under the Act and about your exhibition obligations

Rabbits are category B animals and all species under this category must be exhibited once in each calendar month. If you exhibit a rabbit at more than 1 event throughout the day, to which the audience is predominantly the same, these events are not considered 2 separate occasions.

Private events, taking photos or filming the event and posting footage of the event on the internet, or any other similar activities are considered exhibiting the animal and these activities must be detailed in the management plan. Exhibiting an animal in this way does not count towards the minimum exhibit requirements. Licence holders must also keep records that detail information associated with exhibiting off the regular enclosure site or exhibit times at the regular enclosure site. Record keeping requirements such as these are recorded in the Exhibited Animals Regulation 2016 and must be complied with at all times.

The exhibition licence approving a rabbit for exhibit will list the permitted activities for the rabbit in accordance with activities proposed and approved in the management plan. For example, you may submit a management plan detailing how you wish to exhibit a rabbit in a magic show off the regular enclosure site. The exhibition licence would record that the rabbit is approved to do certain activities for exhibition only off the regular enclosure site.

If you want to exhibit a rabbit at a regular enclosure site, additional requirements need to be met.

All rabbits must be microchipped and desexed within 6 months of obtaining the rabbit if a juvenile, or on obtaining the rabbit as an adult, unless written advice has been obtained by a veterinarian that desexing would be detrimental to its welfare.

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