Farm profits off of “Wheelz the Bunny”
Wheelz the bunny passed away yesterday. Sadly, this was his fate from the start.
I’ll back up a bit. Overlook Acres is located in Amsterdam, New York, and is a meat producing farm. This includes rabbits, rabbits like Wheelz, who was apparently found in the frigid temperatures that had killed multiple litters that “belong” to the farm. Wheelz had a spinal injury that resulted in his two back legs being paralyzed, and farmers Jason and Sonja Ambrosino created a mini skateboard “wheelchair” for the baby bunny to use. Wheelz took off, and so did every major news outlet, excited to have their animal flavor of the week ready to be in the viral spotlight.
The story was covered by ABC News, USA Today, and endless local affiliates who were smitten with the story. Encouraged by the attention, the couple began to crowdfund for a children’s book about Wheelz, and it looked like a huge profit would be coming their way. “Wheelz, the Little Bunny That Wouldn’t Give Up” was the proposed title. Of course, Wheelz would have been forced to give up had he been born with functioning legs, as he would have been slaughtered just like his siblings. The hypocrisy is enough to churn one’s stomach.
Wheelz died in a veterinary clinic yesterday after failure to thrive. The farm has taken no responsibility for their actions, even though it’s glaringly obvious that his start of life was harsh and damaging. In a Facebook post, they asked for the respect from others that they certainly don’t grant the animals that they kill. Animal activists have been posting to the farm Facebook for days now, and Ambrosino has lashed out against them.
It’s a sad story with a sad ending, and something shifty happening right in the middle. There is no word on whether or not the farm will move forward with the book.