Sunday, 31 December 2017

The truth about feathers


When a little white  feather emerged from a cushion, my grandson and I fell to discussing its provenance. And I, for one, almost wish we hadn't. Apparently, feathers are obtained in three ways. Firstly, they come from dead birds. Secondly, they are "gathered" by grooming the birds (pretty roughly, by the sound of it). But worst of all, and this happens on a grand scale, they are plucked from live birds, often tearing the skin so badly that it has to be stitched (no anaesthetic, needless to say). Then when the feathers grow again, the whole process is repeated. Cyclical torture for the birds involved.

I was appalled, and also ashamed that I had never even questioned the origins of the feathers in our pillows, cushions and duvets. How can we check what is inside cushions when we buy them, and whether the welfare of the birds who provided them has been given any consideration? Do vegetarians use down-filled pillows? Am I the only person who didn't  know all this? And why is there no campaigning against this awful practice? Thoughts, please.

17 comments:

  1. There is campaigning aginst this, Frances; at least in Germany. The one organisation I regularly donate money to ("Mensch und Natur") time and time again report about this. I am pretty sure something like an animal welfare seal exists for products with feathers and downs, although I must admit that I, like you, have not put much (if any) thought in the whole process whenever I bought new cushions, duvets or padded winter coats.
    About 10 years ago, I have switched to foam pillows for the bed (shaped so that they help with my neck and shoulder pains), and the cheap cushions on my settee are filled with poly-something-or-other.

    Like with the meat we eat, the milk we drink and the eggs we use in the kitchen, way too much of products made of or produced by animals are obtained in cruel, horrible way, and way too little is done about it, both from individual consumers (myself included) and governments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Meike. Germany seems much more on the ball about this than we are ( either that, or I haven't noticed). I shall be careful from now on.

      Delete
  2. I don't use down for anything nor do I eat halal meat. Animals must be treated with kindness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adrian, I think halal meat should be outlawed in this country. We have animal welfare laws, and we should enforce them for everyone. Apparently, halal meat is finding its way onto supermarket shelves among the humanely slaughtered meat. It's a disgrace.

      Delete
  3. I recently bought some feather pillows. It had never occurred to me that they come from anywhere other than dead birds. The world becomes a more crap place by the day:-(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Martine. I'm glad I'm not the only one living in ignorance! I'll never feel the same about feathers again.

      Delete
  4. I haven't ever given it much thought I must admit, but I don't think we have any feathers in the house!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A feather free zone - that sounds like the answer, Frances!

      Delete
  5. PS. Happy New Year and safe horsing about. I survived my winter horsing. Plenty of exercise is the answer plus don't feed them anything but hay. Non of the jumping nuts etc, just chaff and a carrot for breakfast and tea with a bit of oil and water. I have been trying to train Rambo to carry me over hill and glen but without success. Spent ages with him but he still bucks when I get on. He hasn't thrown me yet. I'll ask for a Clydesdale for next Christmas and a helmet just in case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adrian, who exactly is Rambo? And does he belong to you?

      Delete
    2. No he doesn't belong to me. He is seventeen and a bit hands of rock ape. He can jump and I spend hours with him. He no longer tries to kick the dogs and helps me mend his drinker. We use a Chiffney bit to lead him. They work. He will come round to my way of thinking. We have plastic mounting blocks. He used to kick them away. I called him a naughty word he is okay and i can now do a couple of laps on the lunge before he bucks. He is friendly and bright but just a delinquent seven year old horse.
      If I don't make him behave it's a Pedigree Chum tin for him. The young lasses think it's bad form to get their posh jodhpurs mucky and bruises on their bums. He can jump a gate perfect which saves time if he doesn't chuck one off after. I love him.

      Delete
  6. Like you I had never given a moment's thought to the provenance of down for duvets etc. As it happens I have a preference for the modern lightweight poly-something-or-other (thanks Meike) which is almost as expensive as down but which I find much better. In fact I gave some feather and down duvets to the Red Cross last year after replacing them with fibre ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now someone is going to say that my poly fibre duvets are not eco-friendly.

      Delete
    2. They wouldn't dare.

      P.S. Happy New Year!

      Delete
    3. Happy new year to you too, Mrs. S.

      Delete
  7. How did we get to be so vile?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Really a beautiful blog.It is very astonishing and marvelous design.

    หนังออนไลน์

    ReplyDelete