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Women convicts rear rabbits

The women prisoners of Puzhal Central Prison are rearing rabbits as a source of income. This is also serving as a kind of occupational therapy for them.

Women convicts rear rabbits


Chennai, Nov 1

Simran, Kashish and Payal are having an afternoon nap, while Pandian is busy eating his lunch. This may sound like a kindergarten classroom setting, but in reality, these names belong to rabbits darting about in the hutch set up at the Puzhal Central Prison, where women convicts can extend a pleasurable hobby into a profitable enterprise.

The inmates engaged in rabbit rearing are given books and reference materials to follow the diet and observe the animal’s behavioural patterns. They feed them some grain, cabbage and cauliflower, keep their cages clean and ensure that they mate on time for proper breeding. The new-borns need special attention.

“Rabbits multiply very quickly. A few of them had four or five litters recently. The young ones are then sold at the prison bazaar at Puzhal at Rs 150 each. There have been many takers as they make good pets,” says A Allirani, jailor, superintendent in-charge.

The prison authorities encouraged this idea to help inmates become financially self-sufficient. She says, “They make some money from the rabbits sold at the bazaar. We involve only those prisoners who are genuinely interested in the activity as they need to understand the nature of rabbits. The pets are easy to handle, but can get very restless when they don’t mate on time.”

Rearing rabbits is also therapeutic as the inmates in charge get attached to the animals over a period of time. “The entire exercise also speaks a lot for their patience and commitment in taking care of the animals,” Allirani points out. “We had a lifer who used to take good care of the rabbits. Now, she is out on bail. In her place, we have another woman who is equally dedicated to the rabbit hutch. These women even select the names for their wards with much love and affection,” she adds with a smile.

Bunny tales
•    A rabbit hutch was set up in Puzhal Women’s Prison in February 2014
•    It currently has close to 40 rabbits
•    Their diet includes cabbage and cauliflower
•    They are sold for Rs 150 each at the prison bazaar

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