A Question of Waterfowl Down

For many of us the winter months are cold. We struggle to stay warm in cold climates where there's snow, ice and relentless wind. You know--the kind of wind that seems to know the way in through your sleeves and up under the tails of your jacket. So, we go to the mall or the local mercantile and try on numerous winter jackets. Some are too small, some too large, some just make us look like robots...and finally we find one that's so comfortable and warm. When we feel it and squish the material it seems so soft, yet heavy and we know we'll never be cold again.

But wait!

In our frenzy to find the warmest jacket possible have we forgotten, or do we even know, about how it's made? If the jacket is filled with down the feathers must've come from birds who were humanely slaughtered, right? I mean, the birds must have roamed the grassy knolls and swam in gorgeous ponds and then they were humanely euthanized. They must've been dead when the feathers were removed. They had long, healthy lives.


No, unfortunately this is not the case. Down is often plucked from live birds. Have you seen pictures of these birds after they've been plucked? I'd have to say it's probably worse than having your hair pulled out. Feathers have veins and each feather is much thicker than human hair. Some feathers, called blood feathers, will cause birds to bleed to death if pulled out. The birds who are plucked suffer intense pain. It would be like going to the dentist to have a root canal without any pain killers or local anesthetic. The birds stand around sore and helpless, their skin bright red, raw with pain, and what for? For our coats and feather pillows and comforters, all of which we do not need, because there are numerous alternatives.

The fashion website ecouterre features an article about going down-free with celebrity Alicia Silverstone urging shoppers to consider alternatives. Please, Augie March and his flock urge you to visit the article titled Alicia Silverstone Urges Holiday Shoppers to Go Down-Free for the Birds. Of course Augie would suggest this as he's a duck. But what of those of us who announce our love for animals, any animals from cats to dogs to chickens to elephants? Our love can be limitless. After all, why choose one species over another? Are we not all capable of feeling pain and misery?

If you are unconvinced of the importance of rejecting products with down filling, please watch a video at this LINK.

Here is quoted text from the above LINK, via Peta.org:
Many birds used for down have their feathers yanked out of their skin, sometimes several times a year, while they are still alive. The terrified birds are pinned down while hurried workers rip fistfuls of feathers from their sensitive bodies, often plucking them so violently that they actually tear open the birds' skin and then sew up the wounds using needle and thread with no painkillers.
In addition to damaging birds, buying down supports the cruelty of the foie gras industry, in which birds have tubes rammed down their throats and food pumped into their stomachs in order to increase the size of their livers. Foie gras producers boost their profits by selling the feathers from these force-fed birds. No matter where it comes from, down is a product of cruelty to birds.

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