This Friday I’m invited to a feather extension and wine drinking party, where they may even be some hooping involved- my kinda girlie get-together! But while I see the appeal for the the whole feather-in-hair look, as an animal lover I’m having a hard time feeling good about going for it myself. I don’t want to support what appears like an industry with pretty dodgy practices. Funny enough, Ecorazzi and Vegansaurus covered the topic today too, pointing to a hypocritical ad campaign by PETA. The trend’s completely blown up. You know it’s over the top and gettin’ old when celebs like Roseanne Barr are even buying it.)
But I am loving tinsel strands like Beyonce’s, which are cheap and fall out naturally after a while. Shakin’ Tail Feathers is just one local company that does this ethical alternative to feathers.
I’m really surprised I actually had to contact PETA several times before getting a very general statement regarding the whole feather as fashion explosion, with nothing specific words on their website. Now I see their ad too, thanks to Laura at Vegansaurus, who happened to cover this today too! This is what two of the folks on PETA staff had to say:
Anytime animals are used to turn a profit, their interests are put below the interests of the company. It is impossible for birds to lose enough feathers naturally to keep any company in business. The feathers are taken from Roosters and the process is brutal and fatal. Feathers are beautiful – if they fall naturally from the bird and are chanced upon during a walk through the woods. Feather extensions are another symbol of people’s consumerist attitude toward animals; each extension equals another life extinguished from the earth.
I understand that companies like Fine Featherheads are high in demand supplying salons all over the country right now. So it’s good they choose to work with Whiting Farms, the “responsible” (and largest) producer of long rooster feathers - at least they don’t pluck the live animals for the prized goods. They say they care for them in order to extend their lives, which results in the long feathers. They are confined to cages because they are territorial animals, and these may not necessarily be small.
But the whole thing just seems so wasteful and the more I learn, cruel. The rooster meat isn’t even tender enough to go on the market for most carnivores. Even Whiting Farms admits openly it cannot keep up with current demand. They also make it clear that the roosters are thrown away as compost after their feathers are harvested. Gawker mentions that Whiting Farms kills 1,500 birds a week and women have even been banned from fly fishing stores in their pursuit of fashion!
So I guess for right now I won’t throw out the (awesome) feather earrings I got a year ago, but skip the feather extensions. Boo! I like them.
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