With Easter approaching, many families are having Easter portraits done. Please be careful of any photographer using live animals. Live animals are often used by beginner or amateur photographers to try to book sessions.
- Photographers need a special license from the USDA – no exceptions. If a photographer fails to get this license, they face thousands in fines, as well as possible jail time. Even if the child is sitting next to a bunny or chick and not handling it, the photographer MUST have a license to have these animals in the studio.
- Bunnies and chicks can carry salmonella, which is obviously unsafe around children. You must scrub a child’s hands clean with soap and water, not hand sanitiser, immediately after handling a bunny or chick. Also, there will be animal poopy.
- Should your child get scratched or bitten, your photographer’s insurance will not cover it. You can, however, sue the photographer.
- A photographer needs multiple animals at hand so they can take breaks. These animals stress very easily. Bunnies are highly prone to fatal heart attacks out of fear or stress. If a bunny is injured, it may attempt to hide its injury to avoid being singled off by a predator (and it may view the child as a predator).
- A veterinarian must be on call since many children accidentally injure, drop, squeeze, or sit on these animals (yes, it does happen too often). A bunny’s ears can easily break if tugged wrong and chicks’ wings can be pulled off.
- Many bunnies and chicks are abandoned after these sessions or even after being “adopted” by a client. Approximately 90% of all bunnies purchased as pets for children die of neglect or improper care, or are dumped at a shelter. Bunnies are the third most abandoned animal at shelters and this spikes after Easter; most are euthanised. A bunny abandoned in the wild has a life expectancy of THREE days.
For these reasons, most professionals only use lifelike stuffed animals (I’ll even break out some cute bunny ears, too!). When booking your family’s Easter portraits, please consider the humane choice and avoid any photographer that uses live bunnies or chicks. If your photographer does use live animals, make sure they are licensed with the USDA, have handlers on site, and a veterinarian on call. A cute photo isn’t worth risking the life of a sweet animal. HAPPY EASTER!