The tradition of giving live animals like bunnies, chicks and ducklings as Easter gifts raises serious public health and animal welfare concerns.

In 2023, there were multiple Salmonella outbreaks linked to contact with backyard poultry, causing 1,072 illnesses across 48 states and Puerto Rico.

Salmonella infections can lead to diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and even severe illness requiring hospitalization, especially for vulnerable groups like infants, elderly and immunocompromised.

Proper handwashing and hygiene around live poultry is crucial to prevent Salmonella, which often has no obvious signs of contamination.

Beyond health risks, gifting live animals often leads to abandonment issues when recipients lose interest in caring for the pets.

Domestic rabbits and poultry released into the wild face threats like predators, disruption of ecosystems and disease transmission.

Animal welfare advocates urge the public to opt for alternative Easter gifts like candy and toys to avoid animal abandonment.

For those with backyard poultry, responsible pet ownership through age-appropriate handling and hygiene can help safeguard human and animal health.