'Plucked goose' to visit Philly to urge down alternatives

PETA is bringing its latest colorful animal rights campaign to Philadelphia today.

The focus this time is goose down.

Activists, including one dressed as a half-plucked goose, will gather at 17th and Walnut at noon to urge consumers to buy down alternatives.

PETA says animal-loving shoppers who eschew fur are still buying jackets, pillows and comforters filled with down because they are unaware of the suffering of geese whose feathers are cruelly plucked while they are alive.

"PETA wants shoppers to know that buying down products is every bit as cruel as purchasing fur, exotic skins, leather, or wool," says PETA Associate Director of Campaigns Lindsay Rajt. "The rule of thumb is easy to remember: If a product came from an animal, the chance that abuse and suffering were involved is roughly 100 percent."

(Perhaps that's a bit overboard PETA. The free range chickens on the farm where I have my horses enjoy a comfortable existence that includes producing eggs as nature intended, ditto the sheep that are shorn once a year so that they don't die of heat stroke in the summer.)

But, back to the geese, PETA reminds us that warm, animal-friendly bedding and winter clothing are widely available.

PETA encourages shoppers to check labels for synthetic down, down alternative, polyester fill, or high-tech fabrics such as PrimaLoft® and Thinsulate™—soft, washable, down-like fibers. In most cases, these alternatives are superior to down, which loses much of its insulating properties when it gets wet.