To skin a rabbit or not to skin a rabbit?

That is the question facing The Royal Shakespeare Company. The group is preparing for a series of performances in New York City and has come under fire from animal rights activists because they planned on skinning a rabbit during a production of "As You Like It."

The company decided to edit a scene that required a character to rip the head off a bunny. A dead bunny.

Animal rights activists -- and bunny lovers -- protested with fury.

The company released the following statement to the New York Times:

"The production opened in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2009 in the rural heart of the UK. The dead rabbits used for the performances in Britain were part of a scene illustrating the contrast between court and countryside, where life was harsher and people hunted and prepared their own food, and were sourced locally from game-keepers as part of a farming control program. The RSC and the RSPCA (UK equivalent of the ASPCA) were satisfied that the rabbits used in the British performances were sourced responsibly and killed humanely. It has not been possible to source rabbits in the same way in New York."

So how does one humanely kill a bunny?

Oh happy dagger?

Oh true apothocary?

Oh Rabbit, so wise so young they say do never live long.

But I suspect a delicious fricase it doth make.

Frailty, they name is Bunny.

Enjoy my decidedly British audio report on the controversy: