Friday, 4 July 2014

Pulling out the Duck Down Doona?

Brrr It's Cold In Here!

The nights are getting colder and the doonas are coming out of hiding. You may even be thinking about purchasing a new quilt. Nice, feathery and soft. You may want to think again. Duck down quilts are very popular and it's highly likely that the doona on your bed contains duck down. What is Duck Down? Well simply put its duck feathers, nice soft Duck feathers, that usually come off the duck breast. Why is Duck down used in quilts? Because it is fluffy and oh so warm! 
But, being mindless consumers that we are trained to be in this world, have we ever thought about the pain and agony that happens while producing these Winter warmers? No?
Only very recently were my eyes opened to this horrendous practice of acquiring Duck Down. 

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There are two ways Duck Down is obtained. Either the feathers are plucked from the dead animal before it is sold for meat or the birds are in factories and are alive when the plucking happens. In my ignorance I thought that every duck down quilts were from the meat industry and all birds were dead before plucking begins. Nope. Several countries in the European Union have banned live plucking and the USA don't do it often but it's not Illegal (really!?). What is most disturbing is that the largest exporters of down- China, Hungary and Poland -have not banned live plucking. 

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Live plucking is not a term, it's a fact. Workers pin the animal down and rip the feathers out of a struggling Duck. Bleeding is common and these animals are in agony. If the skin is torn open then they are stitched up with a needle and thread on the plucking floor without painkillers. In this video from PETA you can hear the screams of these tortured and terrified animals as their feathered are being torn from their skin. 
This only happens once before the animal is slaughtered for meat? No! It is common for a bird to be plucked alive up to three times a year before being transported to its death.

When purchasing down, attempts to avoid live-plucked down are largely futile, because the feathers from different farms are put together by middle men who then sell to the large manufacturers. The percentage of down that is live-plucked is unclear, but even if the two types of down could be purchased separately, the cruelty-free solution is to avoid all down and other animal products. 

My Personal Thoughts:

I'm going to be completely transparent here and admit that I do own a down quilt from China, It has got to be around ten years old. So in a way I can use childish ignorance as an excuse for me owning one but never will I buy one again. Nor will I buy any Mohair products or products that claim to be fake fur, because a lot of the time it isn't fake fur at all (I'll save that for another blog post.)
And on another angle of transparency, as a Christian I find this treatment of Gods creatures totally unacceptable! Yes animals were intended for our pleasure but not like this! Animals are not on this earth to be mindlessly tortured, even if they do make nice quilts. I believe animals should be dead first before being skinned or plucked. Common sense right?

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What are the alternatives?

Great question, you smart thing! There are a few alternatives like man-made polyester or rayon, cotton and wool are also popular choices. I don't have a problem with using wool because it is shaven off ( who knows, my views may change in the future). These are generally cheaper as well.  It is said that Duck down is warmer and softer than synthetic materials, however there is an increasing push in the market to manufacture more eco-friendly quits that also don't have the risk of allergies that duck down has. Modern technology is being used to make softer and more fluffy quilts without using Duck Down.

Ready to go Shopping? Of course!

Tontine- Feels Like Down Quilt Starting at $94.97 at Myer
Heritage-Polyester Quilt With Dacron Duralife Fibrefill Starting at $65.97 at Myer
Australian Wool Quit Rating 2 Staring at $76.00 On Sale now at Target
Deluxe Wool Quilt Starting at $216.97 at Sheridan
MYSA STRĂ… Warmth Rating 3 Starting at $29.99 at IKEA

Have Fun!
Renee x


  1. I came across this website recently, I felt it useful and interesting. I have a simlar blog about Hairdressers in Rockhampton

  2. Hi Renee,
    I have to say that I am 100% impressed that you have wrote this post. I'm a Veterinary Nurse, so I work with animals everyday. In particular I have a passion for the Avian species and I myself have a pet galah (called Ash).
    I couldn't agree with you more about the shocking (and disgusting) treatment some countries have put ducks through (or animals in general) to produce cheaper products.
    Kind regards
    Aimee :)

    1. Thankyou so much! Your kind comments have encouraged me to write more articles of a similar nature. To be honest I wasn't too sure how people would receive this.

    2. Hi Renee, It is always hard to tell how some people will react to some topics. It is nice to know that you are writing about something that you are passionate about.
      I will definitely be keeping my eye out for your future posts.
      Kind regards
      Aimee :)


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