In France the method of harvesting angora was traditionally plucking—albeit after the rabbits have eaten a chemical depilatory that makes it easier to remove the hair—in a process that’s spread over several days to “minimize stress on the rabbit,” according to “Rabbit Production,” a book on the topic reissued in May:

On the first day, all of the wool on the lower halves of the flanks of the rabbit is removed by grasping a tuft of wool between the thumb and the edge of a plucking knife…Over the period of a week, sections of the wool are removed until only the top of the back is covered with a cap of protective wool.

In the the US, the bunnies aren’t fed a depilatory and “coats are often removed in one session by pulling tufts between the thumb and index finger.” China’s angora production seems to take that several steps further, PETA observed: Workers were “violently ripping the fur from the animals’ sensitive skin as they screamed at the top of their lungs in pain,” after which the rabbits “appeared to go into shock, lying motionless inside their tiny, filthy cages.”

For angora fans who are turned off by these harvesting methods, there is another way. A cottage industry of “cruelty-free” angora has sprung up, with small-scale angora breeders who recommend either gentle brushing or careful, slow shearing.

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