|This photo was not dated. It's sometime in the mid-1940s.|
They were a food source.
I know, I know. A lot of people can't think of eating something that cute. I don't want to myself these days. But our parents were both raised in the country. On a farm an animal is there for practical purposes--work or food. A cat may be a pet, but its real purpose is to keep down the mice. A dog is a wonderful companion, but it works with the sheep or cows and is an early warning system if someone other than family enters the farmstead.
When times are as hard as they were when my parents grew up, and even when they started their own family, you are grateful for affordable food sources and look at them with a practical eye.
Some of the rabbits, the breeders, became pet-like, but we had them for a food source. However, eventually they became more of a bother than a help and the rabbit-raising experiment ended.
I remember one rather comical event that came about because our parents had an idea to make the lives of the rabbits more pleasant. Instead of leaving them cooped up in the hutches, they would be provided with a large space where they could hop around and spend their time freely with each other. So a well-fenced area was constructed in the back yard and the rabbits were freed from their cages. If you know anything about rabbits you can guess what happened next. That it happened tells me that my parents really did not know a great deal about raising rabbits when they got into it.
The rabbits disappeared.
Rabbits burrow in the wild, and it took the domestic rabbits very little time to go back to their roots, dig under the fence, and head out for new adventures.
Some of the rabbits were recovered, but I think it was not long after this that the rabbit-raising experiment ended. I doubt that it had saved our parents much money.
The Easter Bunny is safe from me!