Easter Bunny Hunt 2011: 23,000 Rabbits Killed In New Zealand (POLL)

While some families were enjoying a nice meal together, or perhaps a peaceful church service, hunters in New Zealand killed over 23,000 bunnies over Easter weekend, NewsCore reports.

The 2011 Great Easter Bunny Hunt on New Zealand's South Island is billed as a charity event that rids farmland of an invasive pest, but some animal welfare groups see the event in an entirely different light.

Safe director Hans Kriek said he was against the hunt. "It's seen as a party atmosphere, sending people out as inexperienced hunters blasting away at animals. The ones they kill are one thing, the ones they injure are another."

He also doubted the effectiveness of a 24-hour hunt, which did more to incite cruelty than control the pest.

"You can commit any atrocity you like to animals in the name of hunting, and you fall outside the legislation, which is crazy, because wild animals feel pain just as much as domestic ones," he said.

According to the Otago Daily Times, thousands of people gathered in Alexandra's Pioneer Park to see the thousands of rabbits killed by 47 teams of hunters over the course of 24 hours.

Event convener David Ramsay told the Daily Times, "We think we're doing something to tackle the rabbit problem and I think the majority of views, especially those of farmers, are in our favour."

What do you think: is the annual hunt necessary to cull an out-of-control rabbit population, or is it unnecessary and cruel? Weigh in with your opinion in our poll below, and leave your thoughts in the comments.