When a plague of ever-reproducing bunnies is ravaging your public parks, what’s an industrious community to do but kill them and burn them for fuel? The city of Stockholm, Sweden, culls thousands of rabbits every year and has begun transporting them to a special heating plant in Karlskoga to keep Swedish citizens warm and toasty this winter.
Stockholm employs hunters to shoot the rabbits at dawn when they emerge from their burrows. The city killed 6,000 last year, and this year’s tally is at 3,000 thus far. The city sees burning them for fuel as an advantageous way to dispose of the bodies.
Not all Swedish residents are pleased with the plan, particularly animal rights activists who believe there are better ways of dealing with the rabbit overpopulation problem.
“Those who support the culling of rabbits surely think it’s good to use the bodies for a good cause. But it feels like they’re trying to turn the animals into an industry rather than look at the main problem,” Anna Johannesson of the Society for the Protection of Wild Rabbits told the local Vårt Kungsholmen newspaper.
Despite the overabundance of rabbits in the city’s parks, there still aren’t quite enough of them to be a reliable source of biofuel – Stockholm has to augment the supply with dead cats, cows, deer and horses.
And, in fact, their reputation for rapid procreation notwithstanding, as many as 30 species of rabbits around the world are at serious risk of extinction.
Johannesson and other wildlife campaigners recommend tactics like spraying park plants with a chemical that makes them unappetizing to the furry creatures, but rabbit hunter Tommy Tuvunger disagrees.
"If you do that you only move the problem 100 meters away."