Written for Day by day Hive by Peter Fricker, Communications Director of the Vancouver Humane Society.
Because the Canadian winter drags on and the nation is gripped in a polar vortex, many people shall be on the lookout for garments and bedding to remain heat, whether or not it’s tucked up in mattress or snow-shoeing up a mountain.
However what number of buyers shall be conscious that their selection of buy could add to the distress of geese and geese who’re compelled to provide a key element of the merchandise we generally use to maintain us heat?
Down, that mushy layer of feathers closest to a duck’s or goose’s pores and skin is highly-prized within the textile trade as a thermo-insulator. Therefore, its use in out of doors clothes, duvets, quilts and pillows. However the consolation down gives for people stands in stark distinction to the therapy of geese and geese who provide it.
Down is collected in 3 ways: Reside-plucking; post-slaughter plucking and “gathering.”
Of those, live-plucking is taken into account essentially the most unethical and inhumane apply, because it includes the painful stripping of feathers, typically ripping the pores and skin.
The quantity of live-plucking within the down trade is disputed. The trade contends that it’s uncommon and that the majority down is obtained from geese and geese which have been slaughtered for meals.
Nevertheless, a 2009 Swedish investigative documentary estimated that between 50 and 80 % of down is sourced by means of live-plucking – a determine later confirmed by retail large IKEA.
China, which has no nationwide animal welfare legal guidelines, produces about 80% of the world’s down. Reside-plucking is condemned by the China Feather and Down Industrial Affiliation and the European Down and Feather Affiliation however circumstances of live-plucking have been reported in China, Hungary and Poland.
In 2016, a number of farms training live-plucking in China have been uncovered by the Individuals for the Moral Remedy of Animals (PETA).
Down obtained post-slaughter has its personal moral points. Geese and geese raised for meals are manufacturing facility farmed world wide, with inhumane circumstances being uncovered in plenty of nations from Taiwan to Australia to the United Kingdom.
In Canada, PETA uncovered the mistreatment of geese at a Manitoba farm in 2017.
Down collected by means of “gathering” or “harvesting” is the removing of unfastened feathers from a stay duck or goose throughout moulting, when the birds naturally lose their feathers.
Animal welfare controversies over down have led to the emergence of the Accountable Down Customary
The easiest way to keep away from the animal welfare pitfalls of down is to purchase merchandise utilizing various supplies for thermo-insulation. There are a number of, together with Plumtech, Polartec,
In Canada, non-down bedding may be bought at Mattress, Tub and Past or by procuring on-line at firms reminiscent of Wayfair.
Vogue retailers reminiscent of Noize, Arc’teryx, Lolë, Sav
For sleeping luggage, MEC and Ambiance each carry high-quality, artificial manufacturers.
One concern about down alternate options is that many are petroleum-based, bringing into query their sustainability. The trade is searching for to deal with the difficulty, with some firms, reminiscent of Everlane, utilizing recycled supplies of their merchandise.
One firm, Pangaia, has developed a totally biodegradable materials that can be utilized in coats, comforters and different merchandise – comprised of wildflowers.