PETA Urges Delray Beach Pillow-Fighters to Go Down-Free

Birds Plucked Alive Too High a Price to Pay for Fun Event, Says Group

For Immediate Release:
April 2, 2014

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Delray Beach, Fla.

A bunch of people enjoying a good pillow fight sounds harmless enough—until you consider what’s in the pillows. If it’s down, you can bet it wasn’t fun for the geese and ducks who were painfully plucked alive to the point of bleeding. That’s why PETA has sent an urgent letter to Delray Beach organizer Brian Kramer calling on him to encourage all participants in a mass pillow fight on April 5 not to use pillows filled with down. The event is part of International Pillow Fight Day, which will include similar ones in scores of cities around the world.

“With all the warm and cozy animal-free options available, there is no excuse for mutilating geese and ducks just to stuff a pillow,” says PETA Campaign Manager Katie Arth. “Delray Beach pillow warriors can easily choose ‘weapons’ that weren’t produced by committing violence against birds.”

In its letter, PETA points out that birds used for down are tightly restrained as feathers are violently torn from their bodies, often resulting in gaping wounds. Even the producers of foie gras—which is made by forcing tubes down the throats of geese and ducks and pumping grain into their stomachs until their livers become enlarged and diseased—add to their income by plucking the birds and selling their down. In the letter, PETA included a link to this video exposé of the down industry, narrated by Alicia Silverstone.

PETA has already asked the organizers of Delray Beach’s flash mob to follow the examples of Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, and Philadelphia by encouraging their participants to refrain from using down-filled pillows, like the “ducks” pictured here.

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PETA’s letter to Brian Kramer follows.

March 27, 2014


Dear Mr. Brian Kramer,

I’m writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 3 million members and supporters to urge you to make a small policy change that would make a big difference for animals: Please ask International Pillow Fight Day participants in Delray Beach to use only down-free pillows at the event.

Many people don’t realize that birds used for down—the soft layer of feathers closest to a bird’s skin that fills many pillows and comforters—often have their feathers yanked out of their follicles while they’re still alive and sometimes several times a year. The birds are held down as fistfuls of feathers are violently pulled out of their sensitive bodies, a procedure that often results in bloody, gaping wounds that workers sew together using needle and thread, without providing the animal with any pain relief. Please take a few moments to watch this exposé of the down industry, narrated by actor Alicia Silverstone, and I’m sure that you’ll understand why we’re so concerned.

Because many foie gras producers supplement their income by selling birds’ feathers, buying down can also support the notoriously cruel foie gras industry, in which ducks and geese have tubes forced down their throats and grain pumped into their stomachs, until their livers are diseased and enlarged to up to 10 times their healthy size. The birds are then slaughtered, and their livers are sold as a “delicacy.” I hope that after considering this new information, you’ll agree that 15 minutes of fun shouldn’t come at the expense of animals. Please let us know that you’ll follow the example set by organizers in Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York City who asked their participants to refrain from using down-filled pillows. Thank you for your consideration.


Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President

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