Parents should resist the urge to buy a live bunny rabbit (or chicks) for their children's Easter basket. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that thousands of Easter bunnies are returned to shelters because the novelty has worn off for the youngsters and the parents no longer want to care for them. Many shelters are stretched to the limit taking care of cats and dogs and have little choice but to destroy these rabbits.

How do we solve this problem? Enter Make Mine Chocolate, a national organization campaigning to break the cycle of rabbit acquisition and abandonment by educating the public about the responsibilities involved in keeping a rabbit as pet.

Things such as the fact that some bunnies love to chew on rugs, furniture and electrical cords may result in you having to virtually child-proof your home. A commitment to owning a bunny can be long-lasting and demanding. Most live as long as a cat or dog, some for 18 years or more. And, unlike dogs and cats, rabbits have a very specific diet of good quality pellets, fresh hay, fruits an vegetable and plenty of clean water.

Some people believe that they can simply release their Easter bunny outdoors if they grow tired of caring for them. But these domesticated animals are easy prey for larger animals because they have not been trained to live on their own and do not survive.

Make Mine Chocolate wants everyone to have an Easter bunny in their baskets -- as long as it is made out of chocolate. Since 2002, the organization has waged a campaign to deter people from purchasing bunnies for Easter. The group has "Make Mine Chocolate" T-shirts along with flyers and posters one can use to get the message out. Its Web site is

If you or someone you know is thinking about purchasing a live bunny for Easter, why not go and out and buy a big, delicious chocolate rabbit instead? E-mail your ideas on how to help spread the word that rabbits are not disposable pets to Make Mine Chocolate. Better yet, send a donation to sponsor one of the many unwanted pet bunnies at your local shelter.

Happy Easter!

Cathy Kangas is the founder and CEO of PRAI. She also started Beauty with a Cause which helps animal welfare organizations around the world. She has committed a percentage of the profits of the company to this effort.