After hearing from PETA about the cruelty involved in using ostrich feathers for fashion, Australian label Bardot has pledged not to use them in future collections.
In September, the brand started selling a “100% ostrich feather” dress, bustier top, and bustier bodysuit. The garments were supposed to “[b]low them away this season”, but instead, social media blew up as concerned customers voiced their disappointment at the company’s use of cruelly obtained feathers. PETA also contacted its CEO to echo these concerns.
Admitting its mistake, Bardot told PETA that it had been unaware of the suffering that birds endure when they’re farmed for their feathers, confirming that “after becoming aware of these sourcing issues and post the feedback from our consumers we have cancelled, at substantial cost, all work in progress and future orders“.
Because ostriches don’t moult and therefore don’t drop feathers for collection, their plumes are obtained in one of two ways: by “live plucking” or by post-mortem plucking after they’re slaughtered for their flesh or skin. Both methods cause them to suffer immensely.
In 2015, PETA US eyewitnesses entered the largest ostrich abattoirs in the world, where they documented that workers forced ostriches into stun boxes and then slit their throats. Not only were ostriches watching as their flockmates were slaughtered in this manner, workers were also caught on camera joking as they struck terrified birds in the face. Transportation to the abattoir alone puts these animals at risk: their long necks, thin legs, and delicate eyes are easily injured during handling.
The horror of live plucking is also well documented. Ostriches are blindfolded and held down – which causes them to panic – before their feathers are pulled out of the follicle by hand or with pliers. Some birds are returned to cages, bleeding from their fresh wounds. Others are shot with a captive-bolt gun or electrically shocked and hung upside down, then their throats are slit and the blood slowly drains from their featherless bodies.
Thankfully, Bardot has now seen the truth: that wearing feathers is about as fashionable as a pile of dead birds.
More and more consumers are turning their backs on fashion items that spell suffering for animals. People have made it known that feathers are only beautiful on the birds they belong to, and we’re thrilled that Bardot has made the compassionate decision not to include feathers in its future collections.
Are you interested in creating an animal-friendly look? Check out our list of brands using the “PETA-Approved Vegan” logo: