HONG KONG (AFP) - Animal rights group PETA urged shoppers on Wednesday to boycott products made from angora rabbit fur, after it released footage of fur being plucked from the skins of live rabbits on Chinese farms.
The video shows white angora rabbits at a variety of different farms tied to wooden tables in rooms filled with cages, as workers hold them down and tear off clumps of their fur by hand, while the animals scream in agony.
Another part of the video shows the rabbits pink-skinned after having their downy fur pulled off.
"PETA is appealing to shoppers in the lead-up to Christmas and Chinese New Year. Please take the time to read the label on that sweater or scarf," said PETA Asia vice president Jason Baker in a statement.
"If it says 'angora', remember the gentle rabbits whose fur was cruelly ripped out of their skin - and then leave the item on the rack."
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) said its sources told them that the fur which had been plucked fetched more money, due to its length and quality, even though the method put the rabbits at more risk due to stress.
PETA spokesman Ashley Fruno said the group's undercover investigator visited ten farms between June and September this year, half of which plucked their animals live.
The other farms cut the fur or sheared the rabbits, although PETA says this process also makes the animals suffer.
"Some farms which pluck fur also shear rabbits, but at the majority of farms we saw that plucked fur, it was the primary method of removal," Ms Fruno said.
PETA said the farms featured in the video were in Shandong and Jiangsu provinces, with numbers of animals ranging from hundreds to 10,000.
According to PETA 90 per cent of the world's angora fur comes from China.
Angora wool made using the fur is renowned for its silky, lightweight texture.