12 June 2012

Cruel Fashion - Birds Skinned Alive

There is no lady deserving of the name who could witness without a feeling of horror the process of preparing for use the feathered beauties which form such conspicuous ornaments in the present style of women's hats. If those who wear such ornaments knew the tortures to which these helpless little creatures are subjected, and the heartless cruelty with which the business is carried on, they would shrink from even indirect complicity in it. Of course the impression prevails that all birds used for personal decoration are killed immediately when caught and prepared in the ordinary way by taxidermists; but here is just where the mistake is made. The birds are taken alive, and while living the skin is skillfully stripped from their quivering, ghastly bodies. By this process it is claimed the feathers retain a firmer hold upon the skin. Such is the method by which all birds used in the decoration of ladies' hats are prepared. Think of the exquisite humming bird, the blue bird, the cardinal bird, the oriole, and numberless others of beautiful plumage, struggling beneath the knife of the heartless operator; think of this, tender-hearted ladies, as your admiring gaze rests on the latest novelties in fashion by which our city belles are crowned! Hundreds of thousands of birds of the brightest plumage are literally flayed alive every year, and so long as our ladies will consent to wear such ornaments, just so long will this cruel business continue. The Baroness Burdett-Coutts has placed herself at the head of a movement in England designed to put an end to the brutal business, and it is to be hoped that she will meet with cordial encouragement and co operation on this side of the Atlantic.

May 16, 1876. A cruel fashion. Georgia Weekly Telegraph and Georgia Journal and Messenger 59(39): 5. From the New York Sun.