A while ago, I shared with you why I don’t buy fur, leather, or wool; today, I thought I’d share with you why in the past year, I’ve made the decision to not buy down feather. I’m going to be sharing with you a few facts about that industry, and about the harsh reality so many birds who are used face.
I’ll be honest …I do own a few items that contain down feather. But, I will say that they were purchased during a time when I was completely unaware of the cruel down feather industry — which was up until about a year and a half ago. It’s no excuse, I just didn’t know any better. I haven’t purchased anything containing down feather since then, nor will I in the future. I have, however, chosen to keep my items with down feather because it would be wasteful for me to dispose of them. But, any future purchases I make, I’ll make sure that what I buy does not contain down feather.
So, what is down feather? Down is defined as “the undercoating of waterfowl (goose, duck, or swan) [which] consists of light, fluffy filaments growing from a central quill point, thereby creating a three dimensional structure which traps air and gives down insulating ability.” It’s commonly used in coats, mitts, duvets, and other winter items to keep us warm.
In the down feather industry, there’s quite a bit of abuse. You’ll find both post mortem plucking (feathers are removed after the birds have been killed, typically for their flesh or organs) and also live plucking (birds are alive while their feathers are ripped from their skin). While killing these birds for their flesh, organs, and feathers is heinous in and of itself, live plucking is no better.
– Birds that are live plucked are viciously plucked until, many times, they are almost bare …all without the use of anesthetics.
– Their feathers are quite often pulled out by the fistful, leaving raw, bleeding, and painful skin. Many times, skin is also ripped off.
– In order for the workers to be able to do their job, birds are violently handled and grabbed. Many times, their wings and necks are stepped on and their feet are tied together, all to prevent them from escaping.
– Birds live in fear and experience tremendous pain.
– On many factory farms, birds are extremely sick and end up dying a slow, painful death.
– In addition to all of this, there are so many shady companies who claim to humanely pluck feathers and choose to blatantly lie to consumers, but, in reality, are found in undercover investigations to be contributing to these cruel practices.
Check out this informative video about the down feather industry. Just a warning, though, that it is graphic …but it’s reality.
This is just a small look at the down feather industry. There’s probably way more that I’m not even aware of, but just learning this was enough for me to make the switch. After learning about this industry, I will never again buy any products that contain or use down feather. I adore animals — they’ve always been good to me — and I don’t believe that humans have a right to use and abuse animals any way they please. So the down feather industry is not one that I want to support. To support this industry is to support animal cruelty.