Down Pillows & Bedding :
The Reason we will never make or sell them
Behind the scenes of one of the most unethical practices in the fashion and bedding industry
While many consider down & feather pillows a luxury item, that luxury comes at a high ethical price. Birds are often plucked alive for their feathers and down, force fed for fois gras, and killed within four years of their birth. The industry is incredibly unethical and largely untransparent.
In this post, we’re unvailing some of the truths about the down and feather industry, and revealing the reasons why we choose not to work with down and feathers. The down and feather industry practices simply do not align with our values in any way.
We hope you enjoy this post!
Down and feather bedding collects an incredible amount of dust and mold over time.
Down pillows and bedding are known to be super fluffy and luxurious. But that fluffiness comes at a great cost. Not only to you, but to the animals who are being sacrificed for them. Here’s the thing: if your business profits off of animal torture, it’s simply not okay.
Animal torture is not necessary in order for us humans to be comfortable or feel like we’re sleeping luxuriously. Some believe that no animals should be used in any way, because it’s unethical.
Even the most ethically and eco-friendly conscious influencers out there, are stating that the use of some farm animals is okay, depending on how they’re raised and as long as they’re not killed as a result. And we agree.
We’ve previously shared a post written by Alden Wicker from Eco-Cult.
She advised conscious consumers to not judge organic wool, because, dispite being an animal bi-product, not only is organic wool one of the most eco-friendly materials out there, it is also completely ethical.
Because the sheep aren’t dipped in pesticide baths, they’re shaved individually to reduce stress, they have detailed health plans layed out for them (by law), and their life doesn’t end after being shaved for their wool! Indeed, even after their wool is collected, they continue on to live long, happy and healthy lives.
And that’s why we chose to work with organic wool farms.
Down Pillows and Bedding:
The Ugly Truth
However, geese raised for their down aren’t that lucky.
A handfull of fashion companies have been getting in trouble recently because of their unethical practices of collecting down feathers.
You might have heard about hungarian down pillows. These are sold as a “luxury” item, but there is nothing ethical about them.
Five years ago, it was revealed that birds were plucked of their feathers while still alive in Hungary.
After investigations, it was also revealed that the birds where force-fed, so their ballooning livers could be used as foie gras (another very unethical industry, which is banned in some countries). However, Hungary isn’t the only down feather producer.
China now produces 80% of the world’s down. PETA reports that out of 66 Chinese suppliers they contacted by phone or email, half still sold live-plucked down wholesale to other businesses. And keeping in mind that most of our products are made in China, it’s most likely that that is where our down is coming from, too.
“Birds would be pinned down while they are literally ripped apart for their feathers before being sewn back together with no painkillers,” said Anne Brainard, Peta’s corporate affairs manager. “There’s just no way a consumer can tell whether down has come from a live-plucked bird or a goose force-fed for foie gras. The reality is it’s impossible to conduct audits across the whole global supply chain with the thoroughness to ensure that birds aren’t having their feathers yanked out while alive or tubes shoved down their throats.”
Some fashion companies claim to have started transitionning into paying closer attention to their supply chain, and making their products more ethical by exclusively sourcing ‘ethical down’.
However, some say it’s impossible to be 100% sure if your down product was sourced ethically, because of complex supply chains that companies are not able or not ready to be 100% transparent about. Some of the companies who were exposed just last year about their use of ‘unethically sourced’ down, said that even they had no idea that their down was being collected this unethically, until animal welfare groups had investigated them.
What’s more, some of these animal welfare groups started giving solutions to reduce the unethical processes, but sadly, not taking into account eco-friendliness.
Indeed, some have advised companies who use down feathers in their products to start using synthetic down. However, like all synthetic materials, this would have a negative impact on the environment.
But all in all, some of the leaders in the down industries say they will continue to use down, praising its many qualities, mostly as an insulator for coats and bedding. However, even though down feathers are natural and eco-friendly, it doesn’t mean they should continue to be used for business.
Because, no matter how you look at the down industry, geese are killed for their feathers and their meat, and generally live a very low quality life. And it doesn’t need to be that way.
Knowledge is the first step to change. Let’s do better.
Down Pillows, bedding and fashion: Enough Reasons to start Choosing Differently
Whether you’re someone who follows veganism principles of not using any animal by-product or not, you should care about the issue of how our industries treat animals.
If you’re someone who values supporting a more ethical society, you should care about whats happening within the down pillows and fashion industry.
The first and easiest thing you could do, is share the information with your close ones. And also, not purchasing any down products when you’re not sure where and how the down was collected.
Down Pillows and Bedding:
the ups and downs
Many love down bedding because it’s fluffy and airy. And yes, that is a nice quality to have in your bedding. However, a wool or cotton filled pillow or duvet do create a similar feel.
But the major downside of down bedding, besides it being very unethical, is that it can be very unhygenic.
Indeed, down and feather bedding collects an incredible amount of dust and mold over time. And you don’t want to be breathing that in while you sleep. Down bedding and feather bedding is very high maintenance if you want them it to last long.
What’s more, they’re extremely expensive. More expensive than any other pillows. That’s because down is an extremely expensive filler. Also, down pillows require consistent fluffing to maintain loft and there is no way of washing them.
Also Down pillows lack firmess options. Sleeping with down pillows, you’ll often find yourself having to fold or refluff your pillow during the night. This may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, which is not good for sound sleep. Alternatively, if you don’t wake up to readjust your pillow when it needs readjusting, your head could get locked in an improper position, causing strain to your neck, back and shoulders.
What’s your position on feather & down products? Leave us your opinion in the comment section below!
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