Festive Nativity Includes Guinea Pigs, Rabbits Stolen

Rabbit hidingImage courtesy of Frick Museum

Detail of a rabbit hiding in a painting of St. Francis by Giovanni Bellini

Italians delight in elaborate nativity scenes during the festive holiday season but adding live animals had unforeseen consequences for a group Franciscan monks in Grosseto, Tuscany. In addition to plaster statues of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, the church decided to liven up their manger scene with real guinea pigs, chickens, and rabbits in the yard adjoining their convent.

Local children expressed delight at seeing the animals, which were kept in wire cages, but they caused outrage among members of the Animal Liberation Front who saw this as animal exploitation for entertainment purposes.

Two members of the group pulled a pair of much-loved rabbits named Cip and Ciop from their cage and bundled them in a sack in an effort to “liberate” the pair of bunnies. A note was left for the monks of the Convent of St Francis stating, “They are well and scampering around happily in their new environment. The sadism of the friars, who imprisoned them to satisfy the curiosity of the so-called faithful, has been vanquished by a legitimate and necessary act of liberation.”

Those at the church are surprised by the raid describing the situation as “incomprehensible” and insist the rabbits had been well looked after. The disappearance of the rabbits left local children upset and disappointed, however, a local farming family stepped in and provided three new ones to the church.

The Corpo Forestale, one of Italy’s many police forces, continue to look after the current pets cared for by the monks and investigate the previously stolen rabbits.

If you have a great idea for an article about guinea pigs, please let us know. Guinea Pig Today is a network of guinea pig lovers and we’re always looking for the next great story. View our submissions page for more information on how to submit your idea.

Angela, Editor-in-Chief, GPT

Angela founded Guinea Pig Today and guest writes for CavyMadness. She volunteers with Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue and supports the ROUS Foundation. Her guinea pig, Papua, is the star of WHEK-TV/DT.

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2 Responses to “Festive Nativity Includes Guinea Pigs, Rabbits Stolen”
  1. Stephanie says:

    the poor bunnies! I’m more fearful of them being with the Animal Liberation Front than outside in a manager display! Assuming that they were outside with the guinea pigs in all that hay…. they must have thought they’d gone to heaven!

  2. Jennifer says:

    Huh. Why did they only “rescue” the rabbits if animal welfare was their concern? I wonder if it really was the ALF.

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