From Heaven to H&M: PETA ‘Angel’ Reveals Hellish Reality of Down
Decked up to rival the decoration perched on top of a Christmas tree, a PETA “angel” adorned with huge faux-feather wings, knee-high boots, and a halo stood proudly outside the H&M store on London’s Regent Street today to remind last-minute Christmas shoppers that products made with feathers are anything but heavenly. They urged passers-by to be an angel for birds by never buying feathers, which are always a product of cruelty and violence, and shopping only for products made with cruelty-free, vegan materials instead. PETA is calling on high-street stalwart H&M to ditch down-filled cushions and clothing after PETA Asia investigations into farms used by suppliers to the company exposed the miserable life and terrifying death birds endure when exploited for their feathers.
Many people don’t realise that every down item and garment, from jackets to cushions, is filled with feathers that were ripped from terrified birds, whose throats are slashed and feet cut off – sometimes while they’re still conscious. Luckily, our PETA “angel” was on hand to spread the word and ask all shoppers to make compassionate choices this Christmas and beyond.
Birds Killed for Down
PETA Asia’s investigation into Vina Prauden – a Vietnamese company that has previously supplied down to H&M – shows ducks on farms and in slaughterhouses suffering from gaping and bloody wounds inside dirty sheds and on lots strewn with faeces. They are hung upside down and stabbed in the neck, some while still conscious. Many of the birds continued to move for more than a minute after workers slashed their necks and severed their feet.
PETA entities have released a total of nine exposés of the down industry, each one proving that filth, suffering, and violent deaths are commonplace in the exploitative trade, regardless of how products are labelled and marketed.
Responsible Down Standard
H&M and other high street stores sell down certified by the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), which claims to “ensure that down and feathers do not come from supply chains where animals have been subjected to any unnecessary harm”. But every farm and slaughter facility visited by PETA Asia investigators that sold down to RDS-certified suppliers told a very different story.
One abattoir owner who confirmed that her business was RDS-certified admitted that it’s actually audited only every two years, despite the supposed RDS requirement for annual audits. She added that her employees never check for signs of consciousness before stabbing ducks in the neck and slaughtering them.
Whatever label is slapped on products made with feathers, you can be sure that exploitation and suffering were involved. Many synthetic down alternatives exist that are every bit as warm and affordable as feathers – and that leave animals in peace.
Imagine being lifted up by the neck and having your hair torn from your head without painkillers – you might then have an idea of how painful and distressing live plucking is for ducks and geese. The struggling birds are roughly pinned down, and their feathers are yanked out so hard that their skin is often torn open, leaving gaping, bloody wounds. Hurried workers, known as “rippers”, stitch up these gashes using needle and thread – and no anaesthetic. Some of the terrified animals die from this ordeal.
Demand a Down-Free H&M
The only way to ensure that no animal suffered for your clothing or bedding is by going down-free.
You can take a stand against the slaughter of birds by urging companies which continue to use down, including H&M, to say no to cruelty and drop all down from their lines.