A closed rabbitry means that the breeder doesn't allow visitors into their facilities. Not only people that aren't buying bunnies, but people that are seriously interested in buying bunnies too. They will meet you somewhere else, such as Starbucks or another location, to give you the rabbit. Holly's Hollands is NOT a closed rabbitry. I like visiting other breeder's barns, and I like having visitors to mine. I also think it's very important to see the parents, or at least the mother, so you can get a good idea about what temperament your baby has, and how big you can expect it to become.
However, many breeders have closed rabbitries. The following was borrowed from Hunter's Holland Lops. See the site here.
Internet sites and books often suggest pet buyers ask to inspect the breeder’s breeding facilities. It is also popular among animal rights extremist groups to say a breeder must allow buyers to see where the rabbits are kept and if they are not allowed it must mean the breeder has “something to hide”.
The fact is there are good, valid reasons why breeders refuse to allow people into their rabbitries. The following article explains the reasons why a breeder will maintain a “closed” rabbitry. None of these have anything to do with providing inadequate care. Ironically in many cases, irresponsible breeders allow buyers to see where the animals are kept. There seems to be a disconnect in their minds, they really think conditions are fine when they aren’t. So the reverse seems true of what animal extremists recommend, those who should be hiding their conditions are more than willing to show them off.
Valid Reasons A Breeder Says NO to Buyer Inspections:
-A breeder does not want unruly children in the rabbitry.
Sure nobody thinks their kids are a problem but many breeders have had bad experiences with buyers and their children disrupting the rabbitry. Rabbits can be easily spooked by strangers, and when the strangers run around the rabbitry screeching and poking fingers into cages and rabbits, well those conditions are less than ideal for the bunnies. We find this to be especially upsetting to our does that are pregnant or have new kits. The same is true of adults. The rabbits are very used to us coming into the barn and they are easily scared by strangers.
In addition to risking injury to the rabbits there are liability issues. Suppose a child gets injured in the rabbitry? What most people probably don’t know is that insurance companies do not cover rabbtries, they will not cover people who have buyers come onto their property to purchase a rabbit. Children out of control in a small rabbitry can fall, get cut or scratched, or even bit.
-Risk of Disease
Breeders have no control over where a buyer has been and what infectious agents they may be carrying on them. So to allow someone into the rabbitry puts every rabbit at risk. If a breeder brings rabbits to a buyer separate from the rabbitry they can better control and minimize disease risks. The US has had several outbreaks of VHD, a foreign animal disease that the USDA will kill every rabbit on the property if just one rabbit becomes infected. Due to VHD, breeders have been told they should keep a “closed” rabbitry and not allow visitors in.
-Risk from animal rights activists.
The secret is out, animal rightists opposed to animal use do pretend to be pet buyers in order to get into breeding facilities. They can be working alone or for animal control in order to gain access and then lie about conditions so AC can obtain a search and seizure warrant. This is a very real threat as many animal control agencies are anti-breeder and do target breeders who are taking proper care of their animals. Or the activist may be working on their own and plan to come back at a later date and steal the breeder’s rabbits.
-Avoid upsetting owners when they want a rabbit not for sale.
Many breeders report experiences where a buyer sees rabbits they want but they are not for sale. Perhaps there are younger babies not yet ready to leave or the breeder doesn’t know if they will be for sale. Sometimes a buyer falls in love with one of the breeders best show rabbits. In any case it makes it easier to show the buyer only those for sale vs. letting them into the rabbitry.
-Risk of strangers
No matter how much correspondence or conversations a breeder has with someone every perspective buyer is a total stranger. Think about that, would you allow a stranger into your home to “inspect”? Besides privacy issues breeders face serious risks letting buyers into their homes or breeding facilities. The buyer my not actually be looking for a rabbit, they could be a thief, or worse. Most probably have heard the news report about the pregnant dog breeder who allowed a woman in she met at shows who ended up murdering the woman after cutting out and stealing her baby. With all the reports out there about bad people one should be able to understand why breeders are reluctant to allow people in. Think about it, would you be willing to let strangers into your home to look around?
-Concerns about Town Ordinances
Some cities, towns, and counties have unfortunately come up with number limits not based on facts, logic, or common sense. A breeder may not allow visitors because they live in an area where the government has seen fit to remove the rights of breeders.
-I’m a breeder not a petting zoo!
Sometimes “buyers” aren’t serious about getting a rabbit, they just want to use the breeder like a petting zoo. Raising rabbits requires a lot of time and work. In addition to the rabbits breeders are attending shows, dealing with other buyers, and of course we all have our own families and jobs. Rabbitries aren’t here to serve as petting zoos so keeping people out of the breeding facility helps prevent “window shoppers”.