The Reality of Down is Nothing to Sleep On

PictureWhen you lay down in bed, do you ever stop to reconsider what your pillow or comforter is stuffed with? Probably not… who cares? This is a typical response by those who are unaware of the truth behind what their pillow or comforter is probably stuffed with. If it’s cotton, good for you! Down? Well, let’s just say there are other options that don’t involve cruel procedures to geese or any other animal, in that case.

Now, I know, many people aren’t fans of geese, ducks, or other birds of that sort to begin with but having them plucked practically alive just doesn’t seem reasonable or justified for any reason. Whether it’s a pillow, comforter, or jacket, it’s completely unnecessary when there are alternatives available at your own convenience.

Besides, the procedure itself is cruel enough, but let’s not forget their promised fated afterword. Like most animals that are used or have something taken away from them, they are then slaughtered for consumption.

Many could argue that at least they aren’t being wasted. Well yes, that is true but technically speaking, if a human were painfully ripped of each hair and then slaughtered afterword, would you say that their life was wasted? Could you still argue they had a purpose? Sure, maybe to you they did, a sick purpose, indeed. But what about to them? What kind of life is that? It seems like no life at all. Living to die, living to be taken advantage of.But what exactly is this gruesome procedure, anyways? Well, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, ducks and geese often have their throats cut and are then scalded in hot water to remove large feathers. Sometimes, the birds are still conscious when they are dumped into the tanks of hot water.

The Department of Poultry stated from PETA: “in addition to obtaining down from slaughtered birds, a large amount of down is torn from the bodies of birds who are still alive. PETA obtained undercover video footage of workers in Hungary (one of the world’s largest producers of down) pulling handfuls of feathers from geese so violently that the birds’ skin ripped open, leaving them with gaping wounds that the workers crudely sewed back together without using any anesthetics. One worker was photographed sitting on a goose’s neck to prevent her from escaping during the procedure. Up to 5 ounces of feathers and down are pulled from each bird every six weeks from the time they are 10 weeks old until they are up to 4 years old.


But whether their feathers were plucked while they alive or not is not as important as buying it in the first place. Buying down that was plucked from a nonliving bird still supports the people and businesses in the foie gras industry. Also, besides the fact that being plucked while alive is cruel enough, these animals can go through this process 4 or 5 times before even facing their tragic death.

Besides the fact that down is cruel, synesthetic alternatives are a fraction of the price and can even keep insulation when wet! Also, it’s important to be aware of an allergenic or asthmatic reaction to down caused by dust mites in which are in the down itself.

Warm, cruelty-free bedding and winter clothing are widely available at stores such as JCPenney, Target, and The Company Store, and you can also find down-free options from the Martha Stewart Collection.

Some products to look for are the following:

·       PrimaLoft

·       Thinsulate

·       MicroMax

·       TCS Down Free

Check labels for “synthetic down,” “down alternative,” “polyester fill,” or high-tech fabrics such as PrimaLoft and Thinsulate—soft, washable, downlike fibers that are often used in coats, gloves, and comforters. Not only is down expensive, it also becomes useless when wet, unlike PrimaLoft and Thinsulate, which retain their insulating capabilities in all weather.”

Clearly, buying synthetic alternatives is the only option when it comes to being compassionate and cruelty-free. Lastly, don’t forget that puffy coats and jackets have a high chance of being made with down, too! Be sure to check out the label or tag to see what the interior is made up of. Same goes for comforters and beddings of all sorts, pillows, too.

Many people think that finding a pillow not made from down is near impossible, but have they really looked? When searching for down-free pillows, there are many options: cotton, memory foam, and synthetic down, to name a few. Usually, you can find comforters and pillows labeled “down alternatives” or “alternative down, ”as well. Finding alternatives to products made form down is actually a lot simpler than you’d think if you take the couple seconds and read the label or package carefully.

But remember, don’t feel guilty if you are currently using a product with down. What’s important is to get the full use of it is so the animal didn’t suffer for no reason. Then, you best option is to dispose of it and begin the search for cruelty-free options, instead. We live and learn, that’s what this journey is all about.

Don’t believe the fate these animals face just to have their feathers stuffed in pillows and comforters? Check out the video below with Alicia Silverstone who will help enlighten you with the truth behind the lives these animals face. 

Warning, this is graphic and may cause extreme discomfort, especially to young audiences.