Down consists of the puffy super-fine feathers that cover the skin of geese and ducks. It’s widely used in comforters, jackets, sleeping bags, and pillows. Admittedly, down is the warmest insulating fiber available but it’s very expensive and involves unconscionable cruelties.
Much of the world’s down is plucked from living, fully-conscious birds. The United States and the European Union have banned live-plucking. Unfortunately, China produces around 80 percent of the world’s down. China has not outlawed live-plucking and the nation has enacted few laws protecting farmed animals.
In 2016, PETA released video footage documenting the appalling cruelties occurring in China. The footage shows workers ripping feathers from live, struggling birds.
Cruelty-Free Down Alternatives
Synthetic fibers available provide impressive insulation, enabling you to go cruelty-free without sacrifice. Not only are synthetics both cheaper and cruelty-free, they’re water-resistant and generally don’t tend to require dry-cleaning.
If you already own down clothing, pillows, or comforters don’t berate yourself over these past purchases. Instead, you can make an important difference by committing to never again products made from down. Just as importantly, please tell others about the industry’s horrific treatment of animals.