When they say “a picture is worth a thousand words,” this is what they’re talking about.
This touching photo of two geese saying goodbye has reached more than 12 million people on the popular Chinese social media site Weibo. Once you’ve heard their story, it’s easy to understand why it’s making people cry.
The following poem accompanied the photo:
A final farewell with kiss
See off each other at the gate of village
The shadow of the body gets extended while the sun goes down
Live in two worlds separately from now on
The two had spent their entire lives together and were clearly devoted to each other. Geese mate for life. But they were separated when the female goose was given as a gift to a family friend to be killed and eaten. When she was tied into a bag and put on the back of a motorcycle, the gander tried desperately to free her. He honked and cried out for her, his best friend, his soulmate, but, powerless against humans, he could only watch helplessly and cry out as she was driven off into the distance. It was clear to all that he was heartbroken.
The man who took the goose claimed that when he killed her, she had tears in her eyes. Since the photo went viral, he feels extremely guilty and said that if he had known about their special bond, he would have allowed them to “live to be 100.”
Geese are extremely loyal. They mate for life and are fiercely protective of their partners and offspring. But in China, nearly 300 million geese are killed for food every year. They don’t fare much better in the U.S., where they’re also killed for food, including for foie gras, and live-plucked for their soft down feathers to make pillows, cushions, jackets, coats, and comforters.
What You Can Do
If you’re touched by this story, you can help by leaving birds and all animals off your plate and by refusing to buy any products made from down or other feathers.
Down comes from geese and ducks who have unique personalities and the ability to experience a wide range of emotions—much like the ones in this story. Most down and feathers are removed during slaughter. However, birds used for breeding and those raised for meat and foie gras are sometimes plucked repeatedly while they are still ALIVE. There’s no way to know if the products you purchase come from live-plucked birds.
The only way to stop live plucking and ensure that no birds suffer for your clothing or bedding is to choose cruelty-free materials. Just check the labels on products to make sure that they are down-free before you buy.