What Are Down Feathers and Why Do We Use Them?
Down is used widely used in the textile industry. It is often used as a thermal insulator in duvets and pillows, as well as in coats and other clothing. The largest producer of down is China, accounting for about 80% of global production.
What’s the Problem With Down Feathers?
Every year, millions of geese and ducks suffer brutal treatment to supply down feathers for clothing and bedding. They often endure ‘live plucking’, where the feathers closest to their skin are painfully torn off, resulting in bleeding and tearing of the skin which causes immense pain and suffering for the birds.
What About Foie Gras?
Foie gras is made from the liver of geese or ducks, where the farming process involves force-feeding the birds with tubes to “fatten” them up quickly. This intentional torture is extreme, just to produce this “luxury” product.
Down subsidises the cruel foie gras industry, as feathers of the geese and ducks are often sold before the birds are slaughtered. This means they endure double the suffering in their short lives.
What Can I Do to Help Stop This Cruelty?
Firstly, there are several sustainable alternatives to down that are widely available, including:
- Lyocell – made from wood pulp, biodegradable
- Silicone – made from silica, found in sand
- Recycled polyester – made from recycled content, derived from 100% PET water bottles
What Is Four Paws UK Doing to Stop This?
Our ’40 Lives’ campaign aimed to secure as many UK bedding retailers pledging to using cruelty free feather and down in their bedding products, committing, where appropriate, to the Responsible Down Standard. A ranking was created comparing a number of major high street brands including John Lewis, Next and House of Fraser. All of these appeared committed to the Responsible Down Standard and those that were seen to be lacking such as TK Maxx changed their policies after pressure was applied.
You can find out more about our successful campaign here.
We Need More Compassion in Fashion
Millions of animals are suffering in the name of fashion. Every item we buy is a chance to wear our values and speak up for animals in need.
Together, we can drive an animal-friendly fashion future.