Edinburgh’s Lyceum has removed a live rabbit from its production of musical Local Hero after receiving complaints from animal welfare campaigners.
The venue said it had been considering using the animal in the musical, which opens today, March 14, and had been granted a licence to do so from Edinburgh City Council.
It said it had been following RSPCA guidelines and had consulted closely with the rabbit’s owner.
“All were happy with our proposed use and that the welfare of the animal had been appropriately considered. Accordingly a licence was granted by the council. We have however since experienced a number of complaints from a rabbit welfare group and its supporters,” it said.
However, it said that in “light of all the messages and comments regarding the use of a rabbit in our stage production, the decision has been taken not to include a rabbit in the show”.
When it was revealed the show was planning on using a live rabbit, the Rabbit Welfare Association and Fund said the rabbit would be “subjected to travel to and from the theatre, unfamiliar and intimidating sights and sounds while there and lots of handling during rehearsals and on stage”.
It claimed the rabbit would suffer “extreme stresses” at every performance.
“As a prey animal the rabbit is going to find it all very stressful,” it said, adding: “We are dismayed that the theatre plans to go ahead, regardless of it being against all welfare advice they had.”
In 2016, the West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child dropped live owls from the show after a few performances.