Februar 03, 2020
Don’t forget, it’s just February, it is SUPPOSED to be cold and snowy outside!
That used to be my dad’s standard answer to me when I was complaining about how cold it still was this time of year. Most of the time I loved the winter wonderland and the stunning frozen lakes. There’s nothing like ice-skating on a huge outdoor mirror. In fact, we spent tons of time outdoors in the winter, dragging out sledge up hills to slide back down. The air was cold and crisp while the sun was blaring.
Of course, every year we needed new winter shoes and jackets since last year’s had grown too small. And if you were lucky you got a new one, rather than the one an older sibling had outgrown. And if you were really fortunate, you were a Lucky Luke who got not just a new jacket but a fluffy one made of down! Yeek, our faces were green with envy for those cosy jackets.
It’s still February
Like my dad says, it’s February so it should still be cold, and you might even be planning to get a new warm winter jacket or new bedding. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long it is not made of down. Yes, I’ve changed my mind 100% when it comes to those fluffy coats. I don’t envy someone with a down coat anymore, I promise you.
Because behind the fluff lies a harsh truth, as these feathers are – most of the time – violently ripped from the bodies of ducks and geese while they’re still alive, which is called live-plucking.
What’s behind these soft, beautiful feathers?
Down, the soft layer of feathers closest to a bird’s skin is designed to help keep waterfowl (such as ducks and geese) warm, but it is used and promoted as "natural" stuffing for warm clothing and bedding for humans instead.
Just imagine, you are being lifted up by your neck and having your hair torn from your head without painkillers. Yes, I know, it’s hard to get your head around it, but this is what happens to the birds.
Ducks and geese are held down by their necks or wings and have their feathers ripped out so hard that their skin is often torn open, leaving big bloody wounds. Stressed workers sew them up with a needle without using any anaesthetic or sterilisation.
Some of the terrified animals die from this ordeal or they stumble away, some with freshly sewn skin. They are left to recover before the next “harvest.” This process is repeated every 6-7 weeks before the bird’s eventual slaughter – or death from the trauma of the plucking process itself.
Besides this ripping process, many of them also have to endure the process of producing the “delicacy” foie gras, which is manufactured via incredible cruelty.
A metal pipe is rammed into the throat of the animal three times a day. A mixture of maise and pure fat is forced through this pipe, intended to cause rapid weight gain and the abnormal growth of the liver. The liver is unable to process these vast amounts of fat and swells up to 10 times its normal size.
Upside down thinking
I don’t know why we consider so many products that have such a horrific background as delicacies or luxuries. Some people have really messed with our minds and feelings to get us to consider them as such. I’m sure you feel somewhat betrayed as well.
I think we all have a right to know these things because I believe that it’s not in line with your values to consume products that cause so much pain. And it’s certainly not up to your standards.
Here a short video from Alicia Silverstone (remember the movie Clueless and the adored Aerosmith “video girl” on Cryin)!
What to use instead?
Well, I’ve got some good news for you. There are plenty of alternatives to down and feathers on the market today to keep you warm when you are up in the mountains or when you’re cuddling in your bed.
PETA (People for the ethical treatment of animals) has put together
a handy list of alternatives for you, along with information and videos.
There are so many designers these days that ditch cruelty and one that I personally adore is Leanne from Vaute Couture, have a look here. She makes winter coats that even are up to the task of staying warm in ice-cold Canadian conditions!
February is not how used to be
Well, depending on where you live, you might not even be thinking about a new jacket, since actually, February is not really as cold as it used to be. It’s more like the new March. You know like how being 50 is the new 30 or was it 40… one can wish! :)
But it’s good to know for next winter and in the meantime, you can exchange your bedding for something that aligns with your own values and compassion.
Just knowing that what’s inside your pillows didn’t cause any harm will make you sleep better.
And now to brighten your day - cuteness alert with Marit and Nils! Enjoy watching these sweet guys in their natural environment, where all waterfowl should be!
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