Animal Welfare Best Practices

We wholeheartedly aim to exceed the following best practices/standards for animal welfare and public health:

* USDA Animal Welfare Act & Regulations
    (Blue Book  -- see page 82)
*APHIS Animal Exhibitor information
* USDA Exhibitor regulations
* National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians  NASPHV (Animal Contact Committee) Compendium

1) The USDA does regulate the care of agricultural exhibit animals, including rabbits.

2) In the State of Minnesota, there is no registration/license process for  animal exhibits, even "petting zoos."  The Minnesota Dept of Health encourages good hand-washing and following national best practices listed below.

3) In general, rabbits or other small mammals are not at risk for transmitting rabies, therefore they are they vaccinated. 

4) We secure necessary permits for all animal exhibits that are not located with the rabbit colony or at our private residences.

5) We have secured agricultural tourism insurance to protect the public, the animals, our equipment and our staff/volunteers.


Source: The following information is provided by AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums):

An animal typically experiences good welfare when healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to develop and express species-typical relationships, behaviors, and cognitive abilities, and not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear, or distress. Because physical, mental, and emotional states may be dependent on one another and can vary from day to day, it is important to consider these states in combination with one another over time to provide an assessment of an animal’s overall welfare status.

Understanding  specific instinctual behaviors and the ways in which these animals learn allows animal care managers to meet the animal’s husbandry, social, and behavioral needs while providing a unique opportunity to gain an understanding of it’s sensory, cognitive, and physiologic abilities which can be applied to conservation strategies. Read more about Behavior.


Behavioral enrichment is a dynamic process that enhances an animal’s environment within the context of its’ behavioral biology and natural history. Social, cognitive, physical, and sensory enrichment techniques are introduced on a varied schedule in a variety of contexts to increase the animal’s behavioral choices, elicit species-specific behaviors, and enhance animal welfare. Read more about Enrichment.

Nutrition is an important factor in an animal’s immune function and is an integral component of outstanding animal husbandry practices   Read more about Nutrition.

Understanding species-specific reproductive physiology is crucial to providing the highest standards of animal care, health, and welfare; ensuring high population genetic and demographic diversity and contributing to the conservation of those breeds that are waning.  Read more about Reproduction.