Iconic pin-ups turned animal activists—the World Famous Barbi Twins usually spend Easter rescuing rabbits. The bunnies they rescue would otherwise end up euthanized at a shelter or left to their own devices in the wild, until of course, some seasoned predator would be so lucky as to happen upon the truly helpless lagomorphs. Releasing pet rabbits into the wild not only harms the bunnies, but potentially harms the environment.
The Barbi Twins say that often people don’t have the compassion to spend time learning how to care for rabbits properly, including the need to spay and neuter these animals, which frequently end up in over-populated shelters. The bunnies, as mentioned, are typically euthanized immediately.
Rabbits are also quite fragile. In fact, their skeletons are literally only a small percentage of their weight, relatively speaking. This makes them much more prone to fractures than a puppy or kitten of the same size.
The Barbi Twins ardently oppose buying rabbits as toys for children for Easter, which perhaps millions of people do a year. Hence, the Twins have chosen to stand behind Last Chance for Animal’s Easter Campaign—adopt don’t shop for rabbits as life-long family pets. They also suggest buying vegan chocolate bunnies instead of the live and fragile bunnies sold during the Easter holiday for kids. And they recommend visiting the website—Los Angeles Rabbit Foundation—for tips on caring for rabbits.
This Easter the Barbi Twins have decided to recognize their mentor and father figure—Hugh Hefner—for his contribution to rabbit preservation, and we are not talking about the two legged bunnies that live at the mansion. The Barbi Twins reminded me that Mr. Hefner was most influential in helping a subspecies of marsh rabbit elude extinction through a conservation project that he funded, that the subspecies of rabbit was named after him. Yes, the Lower Keys marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris hefneri) was named after Hugh Hefner, the Founder of Playboy, and an entertainment icon in his own right.
In the early 1980s, Hefner, on behalf of Playboy, funded field conservation research aimed at saving this rare subspecies of rabbit. And rabbits are not just important to rabbit enthusiasts—they are critical to ecosystem health all over the world. Through Hefner, Playboy became one of the first corporate entities to support a wildlife conservation initiative.
Today, Mr. Hefner continues to support animal welfare and conservation programs through the mentorship he provides playmates. The Barbi Twins give their inaugural celebrity animal welfare award to Hugh Hefner for all the work he has done not just for rabbits, but for Playboy bunnies in their Playboy family like his wife Crystal Harris and Pamela Anderson, themselves, and all the animal welfare campaigns they have been associated with over the years.