A Giant Rabbit Named Simon Died After Flying United

The poor "little" guy was expected to be the world's largest rabbit.

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Apr 26 2017, 4:55pm

Giant rabbit (who's not Simon) photo via geograph.org; United photo via Flickr user Tomás Del Coro

A three-foot, ten-month-old rabbit died on a United Airlines flight across the Atlantic, and now his breeder is calling for an investigation, the Guardian reports.

Before Simon passed out of this cruel world and into bunny heaven, he was on track to become the world's largest rabbit, according to breeder Annette Edwards. According to Edwards, Simon had just been purchased by someone "very famous," and she was taking him on the flight to drop him off at his new home. 

She told the Sun that a vet checked him out a few hours before his flight from London to Chicago, and that he was "fit as a fiddle" before being tucked into the plane's cargo hold. According to Charles Hobart, a spokesman for United, the bunny was alive and well when the flight landed in Chicago, lending question to just how and when the animal died, the Associated Press reports. 

"Something very strange has happened and I want to know what," Edwards told the Sun. "I've sent rabbits all around the world and nothing like this has happened before."

A United spokeswoman said the airline was "saddened to hear" of Simon's untimely death, and that animal safety is of the "utmost importance" to the company. She vowed United would look into the incident. 

"We won't know the cause of death because we offered to perform a necropsy free of charge—that's standard procedure—but the customer didn't want us to perform a necropsy, and we understand," Hobart told the AP.

It's just the latest spurt of bad news for the airline, which spiraled into a PR nightmare about three weeks ago when video surfaced of security personnel dragging passenger David Dao down the aisle of a plane. After first coming out in support of his flight crew, CEO Oscar Munoz called for an investigation of the incident and pledged to make sure it "never happens again." Dao reportedly plans to sue the airline, and customers have grown outraged after hearing what happened to the 69-year-old doctor. 

It's safe to say Simon's would-be owner might also think about boycotting the airline after the episode. According to Edwards, the celebrity is very upset the massive, furry friend is gone. 

Follow Drew Schwartz on Twitter.

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