Ethical Angora

Recently, I have seen several articles detailing outrageous business practices concerning angora products. Apparently, some major fashion brands have been working with distributors who harvest the fibers in a rather horrific way. For those of you who don't know, angora is a heavenly soft type of wool that typically comes from rabbits, although there are angora goats, alpacas, cats, and more. Personally, I have a bunny buddy, so this issue hits particularly close to home.

My angora rabbit's name is Apple. I adopted her from a rescue network in 2008. She's getting elderly now and has some arthritis issues, so she gets extra spoiled. Her favorite snack is parsley grown just for her in my living room. Her favorite activity is shaking her rattle when whatever show we're watching gets particularly suspenseful.

When I first adopted her, I was worried about the cats I was living with. They were feistier than my current felines, so I never imagined that Apple would be the one chasing the cats around! Thus, she earned the nickname "Bun Bun," an homage to the switchblade-wielding rabbit from Sluggy Freelance.

Apple is as much a part of my family as I am. So, you can imagine how my heart broke when I heard how some manufacturers torture their rabbits by ripping the fur out at the roots. If you've never heard a rabbit scream, trust me, you don't want to. It's a blood-curdling sound, and it would take real cruelty to intentionally cause it.

What's worse is that harvesting angora doesn't have to cause the rabbit any harm whatsoever. At worst, it should be a mild irritation. One of the major reasons I decided to adopt an angora was because of her fur. I was working as a hairdresser at the time. About once a month or so I have to cut her hair because it gets long, it annoys her, and it covers her eyes. The haircut is part of her regular care to keep her happy and healthy. She doesn't like to sit still for it, but in all these years, she's never gotten hurt once during the process.

Instead of the trash, her fur goes into a plastic bag. Later, I spin it. Before I was using a drop spindle, but I have a spinning wheel now, so it will go much faster. Soon, you may see me selling angora products.

It can be produced ethically. I want to provide a means of obtaining one of the most luxurious fabrics without inflicting any pain. I hope that there will be more people like me, willing to work with fiber from pampered pets. I know there are some out there already. On Etsy, you can find sellers who photograph the happy rabbit beside the completed yarn. Please, if you're going to buy angora, make sure you do it right, if you don't want blood in your sweater.

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