Have you ever wondered where the feathers used in feather boas, dusters, and other accessories come from?

At first glance, items with feathers might seem innocent—but news flash: Feathers aren’t obtained humanely from animals. They likely came from terrified birds who were killed for their flesh or skins.

Just like buying products made with down, purchasing things made with feathers supports the cruel meat and exotic-skin industries, because many farmers who raise birds for food or clothing make an extra profit by selling their feathers.

If you’re ready to give industries that abuse animals the bird, here are some items to avoid and suggestions about what to purchase instead:

Boas and Feather Dusters

An eyewitness investigation of the largest ostrich slaughter companies in the world showed that workers forcibly restrain young ostriches, electrically stun them, and then cut their throats. Moments later, the feathers are torn off the birds’ still-warm bodies, and they are skinned and dismembered.


Feathers—some of which are ripped out of ostriches’ skin while they’re fully conscious—are used in costumes for the Moulin Rouge and festivals like Brazil’s Carnival as well as in feather dusters, boas, and accessories.

Today, kind designers and burlesque dancers are creatively and compassionately using alternatives to feathers. Check out these feather-free boas:

Happy Boa

why you should never buy feathers, feather alternative boa

Happy Boa 

Fringe Boas From Oriental Trading Company

why you should never buy feathers, vegan boa, feather alternative boa

Oriental Trading 

ShowgirlPropShop and Barely Boa

feather alternative boa, why you should never buy feathers


Decay Couture

feather alternative boa
Decay Couture 

When shopping for dusters, always be sure to choose microfiber dusters, which are available at any store that sells cleaning products.

why you should never buy feathers, feather alternative duster, feather dusters are cruel

Feather Hair Extensions and Earrings

Rooster feathers look best on their rightful owners, but some salons are now weaving them into customers’ hair as an accessory.

Roosters who are used to make these extensions are bred and genetically altered to produce long, luxurious saddle feathers (the ones on their backsides, which can take years to grow) and then killed and de-feathered for a silly fashion trend.

There are plenty of hair accessories and earrings available that don’t harm animals, but if you must go for the feather look, check out Fire Mountain Gems and Beads for faux feathers available in many colors or make your own “feathers.” For earrings, opt for decorative metal options like these.

Cat Toys With Feathers

why you should never buy feather cat toys, feather alternatives

Since feathers from chickens, turkeys, and other poultry in the meat industry are abundant and cheap, they’re often used in mass-produced items. They are dyed or altered for commercial sale and used in products like cat toys. Thankfully, there are plenty of cruelty-free cat toys available, or you can always make your own at home—cats love shoe strings, boxes, and rolled-up aluminum foil!

At the stores, look for little balls with bells inside or for toys covered with synthetic yarn or string. Or you can always let your cat indulge in PETA’s catnip toy. 😉

Be sure to avoid all down items, too! With so many animal-free items to choose from—why would anyone choose cruelty?

live plucked goose

The only way to ensure that no birds suffer for your clothing or accessories is to choose cruelty-free materials—just check the labels. Make the compassionate choice to go feather-free now.

Now that you know that feathers are cruelly obtained from animals, please share this article and help others go feather-free, too!