Gifting live animals for Easter is bad for the animal, dangerous for kids, experts say

Ducks eat at RaeAnn Christensen’s For Duck Sake rescue. (Mike Anderson, KSL-TV)

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

FARMINGTON — Along with the candy and stuffed animals, live animals are also likely to become Easter gifts for some families this Sunday.

Every year, advocates urge avoiding animals as gifts because it can be bad for the animals and for kids.

Domesticated animals aren’t ready to survive in the wild.

RaeAnn Christensen never intended to care for so many ducks until she realized there was a need, as domesticated ducks don’t often get a space in animal shelters.

“That’s absolutely the problem, is there’s no resources,” Christensen said.

She now runs For Duck Sake, a nonprofit rescue in Davis County.

“I can’t tell you how many fishing hooks I’ve taken out of domestic ducks,” Christensen said. The ducks are simply not able to survive.

“Especially with Easter. Easter is a super bad time of year because all of the cute little ducklings are in the farm supply stores,” she explained. It’s not just the cute little ducklings. Chicks and bunnies end up as Easter gifts for families that sometimes aren’t ready for the commitment.

“My advice is get the Peeps, get a stuffed animal. Please do not get live animals as Easter gifts,” Christensen said.

Utah State University’s school of veterinary medicine states the same.

“Certainly ducklings and chicks can appear to be completely healthy, but actually be shedding salmonella,” said Dr. Jane Kelly, professor and president of the Utah Valley Medical Association.

The animals can also pose a risk to kids.

“You know, they’re so cute. They’re likely to pick them up and kiss them and hug them.” Kelly said, adding that despite being cuteness, they’re messy, they can be loud and they take a commitment of about five to 10 years.

“There’s so much that they need because they’re not wild animals,” Christensen said.

Kelly said that chicks, ducks, even bunnies, are fragile. They can suffer serious injuries when handled improperly.

She said adult rabbits who are held incorrectly and kick their hind legs can actually fracture their own spine which adds to the reasons to really take a look at what you’re getting into when gifting live animals for Easter.

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mike anderson

Mike Anderson often doubles as his own photographer, shooting and editing most of his stories. He came to KSL in April 2011 after working for several years at various broadcast news outlets.

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