\r\n\r\nRabbit Awareness Week (RAW) 2015 springs into action again this year (9th \u2013 17th May) at the London Pet Show, aiming to highlight the health and welfare needs of one of the nation\u2019s most popular pets. To mark the occasion, organisers are calling on the Pet and Vet industries and\u00a0communities across the UK to unite to help improve rabbit welfare by signing up to the free initiative.\r\nFollowing RAW\u2019s biggest year ever in 2014, with almost 3,000 vet practices signing up to the campaign, veterinary surgeries across the UK have pledged once again to offer free health checks throughout the month, rather than just the week of RAW.\r\nRecently published research by the University of Bristol, which was commissioned by RAW partner, RSPCA, revealed that many rabbits could be living in conditions which are potentially detrimental to their welfare. Dr. Jane Tyson, Rabbit Behaviour and Welfare Expert at the RSPCA, said: \u201cThe study showed that 59% of rabbits live in hutches and less than a quarter of rabbits have continual access to an exercise area*.\u00a0 Rabbits should have constant access to an appropriate exercise area to allow them to exhibit their natural behaviours and for their mental and physical wellbeing.\u201d\r\nThe report highlights the need to educate rabbit owners on the housing, exercise and foraging needs of rabbits. Therefore this year\u2019s focus will be on improving the environment for the nation\u2019s one million pet bunnies.\r\nAs well as veterinary practices, other supporters of the national campaign include leading pet food company Burgess, MSD Animal Health - the producers of Panacur Rabbit, an aid to the control of E. cuniculi in rabbits, RSPCA, PSDA, Blue Cross, Wood Green and RWAF (Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund).\r\nSuzanne Moyes, Veterinary Manager at Burgess Pet Care, said: \u201cIt is fantastic that RAW keeps on growing and is going from strength to strength. We hope to increase the number of vet practices, rescue centres, schools and retailers signing up this year and attract new corporate partners to make it even bigger and better.\r\n\u201cThe sole aim of RAW is to educate owners about responsible rabbit ownership and improve the wellbeing of one of Britain\u2019s most popular pets. It couldn\u2019t be easier for vets to sign up to offer free health checks and help us educate the nation on rabbit health and welfare.\u201d\r\nVets, rescue centres, schools and retailers can sign up to RAW 2015 by visiting, www.rabbitawarenessweek.co.uk. Supporters will receive free support kits which include posters and leaflets.