Animal-Welfare Advocates Decry Cruel Easter Traditions

The perennial popularity of gifting rabbits and chicks on Easter is raising concern among activists.

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With Easter Sunday rapidly approaching, animal-welfare advocates are growing concerned over the recent revival of potentially cruel traditions associated with the holiday. Last month, Florida voted to lift a 45-year-old ban on dyeing animals, prompting outrage from activists who fear the change will propagate the practice of dyeing live chicks for use as gifts—a tradition that has endured despite being illegal in many states and municipalities. While poultry owners insist the act of dyeing chicks is harmless, animal-welfare advocates say it is stressful for the birds, many of whom are discarded soon after the holiday is over. Similarly, the Humane Society of the United States is speaking out against the custom of giving children live chicks or rabbits on Easter, saying kids are seldom prepared for the long-term commitment of animal care.