Down is the soft layer of feathers closest to a bird’s skin. It’s sometimes used in various products, from bedding to gloves. Many geese and ducks used for down have their feathers yanked out of their skin while they’re still alive, sometimes so violently that they’re left with gaping wounds that workers then sew up using a needle and thread without any painkillers. Some of the birds even die as a result of the procedure.
When consumers purchase down products, they’re also supporting the cruel foie gras industry, because many farmers who raise birds for food make an extra profit by selling their feathers. As the weather turns cold, everyone’s looking to warm up, but it’s important to avoid down in all its forms. If you’re ready to give the cruel down industry the cold shoulder, here’s a look at nine places where down may be hiding and how to avoid it:
Down pillows may be branded “hypoallergenic,” but down products collect more dust than synthetic ones do. Instead of down, opt for a pillow made from one of the many materials available that don’t harm animals, such as cotton, foam, polyester, latex, and many others.
2. Comforters, Duvets, and Quilts
There are many down-free options that will keep you just as warm without any of the suffering. If you’re looking to warm up, try synthetic or cotton electric blankets. Also, when booking hotels, ask for down-free bedding when making a reservation and confirm it when you check in. When an increasing number of people are requesting down-free bedding, it may lead a hotel to order fewer down products in the future.
3. Mattress Covers
Some mattress covers include a thin cushioned layer that may be made of down, so be sure to read the label before purchasing. If you’re looking for a cushioned cover, look for memory foam instead, which is softer and usually made of polyurethane foam.
Couches and sofas may have down lurking inside, especially in pillows. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s tag before making a purchase. If you’re in the market for stylish new seating, check out the vegan leather sofa options.
5. Winter Coats and Jackets
Winter coats and jackets may have down in the lining of the coat or in the hood, so make sure that you check the tag. When shopping, don’t hesitate to let retailers know when you’re passing on an item because of the cruelty of its production. Thankfully, there are plenty of cozy vegan coat options for men and tons of comfy and cute options for women. When in doubt, check out PETA U.S.’ vegan shopping guide.
6. Sleeping Bags
Stay warm out in the wilderness with a synthetic sleeping bag. After all, who wants to end up with a bag of wet feathers? Even if you’re visiting family and camping out on the floor, check that your sack is vegan.
Before treating yourself to a trendy new vest, check the label for down. Winter vests often contain down in the lining, but there’s no need to buy any product that caused an animal to suffer!
8. Down Feather Dusters
What’s worse than cleaning the house? Using cleaning products that cause animals pain. Never use cleaning products such as feather dusters that contain down or wool or that are tested on animals. If you’re in the mood to neaten up, use a synthetic duster.
If you’re going skiing this year, avoid picking up down-filled gloves and those made with leather, fur trim, or wool. There are plenty of vegan glove options available in stores.