Pennsylvania’s Department of Animal Sciences at Faber College announced this week that their four year long project to create a hybrid pug/rabbit finally met with success.
“This has been a frustrating but ultimately rewarding project,” said Dr. Dave Jennings, head of the Animal Sciences Department at Faber College.
Since the breeding program began in 2009, Jennings’s team has suffered daily protests outside of their administration buildings by animal rights group, Humans for Ethical and Humane Evolution. The group released a statement in response to the school’s announcement on Monday.
“While we were understandably aghast at the experiments being done to crossbreed cats and dogs, we at least understood the reasoning. Many of us have had dogs that have naturally tried to mate with the family cat. But a dog-rabbit crossbreed is preposterous. What’s next? Crossbreeding of rabbits and chickens? Rabbits laying eggs?”
Dr. Jennings made the announcement on the eve of their subject’s one year birthday, which officially marks the longest a hybrid dog-rabbit has lived. “Babs,” as the subject is named, is a female dog-rabbit, and like many early hybrids, Babs is infertile. Dr. Jennings said that his team will continue to work out the quirks.
Several breeds of dogs and rabbits have been used in the course of this groundbreaking program, and it was the Chinese Pug and Hulstlander Rabbit that finally succeeded. Dr. Jennings said he and his team believe it may have worked in part due to the DNA coding that determines the facial features. Both the Pug and the Hulstlander are brachycephalic breeds. That is, they both have genetically determined short heads and noses. For now, the working name for this new breed is “Pugga-Bunny.”
“Just like the Zorse [zebra-horse] and Ligre [lion-tiger] were once vilified by natural evolutionists but are now celebrated as miracles of modern science, we hope to one day be able to mate a pair of fertile Pugga-Bunnys so that we can then see the birth of natural offspring.”
Humans for Ethical and Humane Evolution has vowed to continue protests against the school.
Image courtesy of Department of Animal Sciences at Faber College
Also, happy April 1st.