PETA activists brandishing a “dead goose” met attendees at the gates of WOMADelaide to protest the festival’s use of feathers.
During “Place des Anges”, a show by the French aerial circus company Gratte Ciel, at the festival, feathers were poured on the crowd from above. Although “Place des Anges” means “Place of Angels”, birds used in the feather industry go through hell.
PETA wrote to the festival’s organisers in 2022, urging them to make the 2023 event feather-free.
What About Certified Feathers?
Last year, PETA released a new video exposé after PETA Asia visited eight farms certified by the misleadingly named Responsible Down Standard and revealed egregious cruelty to geese on every one of them. On one farm, birds didn’t receive any pain relief and weren’t stunned before their necks were stretched across a stump and repeatedly hacked at with a dull axe. A worker was also heard laughing after decapitating a goose with five blows and tossing the body into the snow. Another goose shrieked in terror while being struck seven times. Birds’ wings and feet can be seen twitching for more than five minutes after being slaughtered.
WOMADelaide’s website says Gratte Ciel uses feathers certified by DOWNPASS – but this certification is another example of an assurance that’s in place to make humans feel comfortable, not birds. DOWNPASS only stipulates that birds be provided with an “adequate and sufficient” amount of food, kept in buildings that are “sufficiently large”, or protected from “unnecessary suffering, injuries and diseases”. This standard does not even prohibit the painful docking of birds’ beaks.
The random inspections of DOWNPASS farms also leave plenty of room for animal welfare violations. Certified farms are only inspected once every two years by pre-announced inspections. In addition, the certificate doesn’t stipulate any mandatory inspections of parent stock farms, even though live plucking is often practised on these farms.
Feathers Belong on Birds, Not at Festivals
Whether they’re in jackets or pillows, made into boas, or thrown about at a festival, feathers are a product of cruelty to birds.
Join us in asking brands like H&M, Gap Inc, Lacoste, and GUESS to stop using down feathers.