Written by Alisa Mullins
The following was excerpted from an article that originally appeared on McClatchy.
As my mom and I were walking through a department store recently, she spied a colorful plaid quilted vest. "Ooh, that's pretty," she said and reached for the price tag.
Meanwhile, I was looking at the contents label. "Uh-oh, it contains down," I told her.
"Oh, no," she said, dropping the vest as if it had bitten her. "I guess I won't be buying that."
Like me, Mom loves animals. She's a vegan, and she refuses to wear anything made of leather, silk, or wool—or down.
Much of the down used in coats, comforters, vests, and blankets is "live-plucked"—ripped from the bodies of birds who are still alive. Plucking may begin when the birds are just 10 weeks old and be repeated every six to seven weeks until the birds are slaughtered at around age 4, far short of their natural lifespan of 10 to 20 years.
Workers are paid by the goose, rather than by the hour, so speed is of the essence, leading to rough handling and injuries. Undercover video footage shot on a Hungarian goose farm shows workers picking up and carrying geese by their necks or wings. The frightened birds are flipped upside down and pinned between workers' knees while they rip out fistfuls of feathers. One worker was photographed sitting on a goose's neck in order to prevent her from escaping.
The good news is that there are several alternatives to down, including Thinsulate, PrimaLoft, and Polarguard, that are less expensive, less bulky, easier to launder, and excellent insulators. They also perform well when wet, unlike down, which absorbs moisture, loses loft and insulating ability, and takes a long time to dry.
In fact, many brands sell quilted vests insulated with PrimaLoft. Don't tell my mom, but she just might be finding one under her Christmas tree this year.
Written by PETA
Get ready to practice your high-fives
and Bronx cheers—here's
our quasi-monthly round-up of animal friends and foes:
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Update: Fine Featherheads has deleted the statement from its website indicating that the roosters are "treated ethically."
Fine Featherheads, which tacks the feathers of gassed roosters into its customers' hair faster than you can say "misinformed fashion victim," had the audacity to post on its website that the roosters are "treated ethically" at its exclusive supplier, Whiting Farms. PETA has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Fine Featherheads founder, Dakota Hills, demanding that she remove the blatant falsehood from the site.
"We are informed that you visited the conditions in which the roosters are confined and killed for their feathers," wrote PETA Foundation General Counsel Jeffrey S. Kerr. These conditions include confining roosters to solitary cages stacked one on top of the other in noisy, windowless sheds until the birds are finally gassed and skinned. Mr. Whiting admits that he and his workers abuse the birds, even hurling them across the barn.
There is nothing "ethical" about the treatment of the roosters at Whiting Farms, only a financial motivation for Hills to mislead customers. If she does not remove the false statements from her website, PETA will pursue action with appropriate state and federal regulators.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Bravo to the good folks at CBS 5 in San Francisco for running with a chilling Swedish investigative report on the down industry.
In case you think that the down filling in coats and pillows is gathered by a kindly farmer who just follows molting birds around all day and fills a sack with their lost feathers, here's an eye-opener: An investigative team from the Swedish TV show Cold Facts went undercover on goose farms in Poland, Hungary, and China and videotaped workers yanking fistfuls of feathers out of live birds, a process that a veterinarian contacted by CBS 5 described as "torture." At one farm, a worker is shown using a needle and thread to sew a goose's skin back together after the skin had been ripped apart during plucking.
Makes that down comforter seem less comforting, doesn't it? Luckily for geese and the people who don't wish to hurt them, down-alternative comforters are just as cozy and cuddly as those made from down. I speak from personal experience—I happen to have one on my bed … along with three toasty kitties and a dog.
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
Follow PETA on Twitter!
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.