United Poultry Concerns
18 August 2011
Urge American Idol Host Steven Tyler to Shed Rooster Feathers
Roosters are Gassed to Death with CO2 to Produce Hair Ornaments

On July 29, we posted an alert about roosters being caged and killed to provide feathers for the fashion and fly-fishing industries. Read: Feather Hair Extensions & Fly-fishing Tyers: Roosters Slaughtered for Fashion & Fishing.

The largest supplier of these feathers is Whiting Farms in Colorado. Until recently Whiting Farms’ market was fly fishermen, but when American Idol host Steven Tyler started braiding his hair with rooster feathers, “feather hair extensions” became a fashion trend. According to an email from Whiting Farms, Each rooster has only a small number of tail feathers that can be used for sales – sometimes none, sometimes 5 or 6.”

On August 17, UPC president Karen Davis sent the following letter to Steven Tyler through his website: UPC Letter to Steven Tyler Urging Him To Reject Rooster Feathers.

After posting our letter we received an email from Whiting Farms president, Thomas Whiting, in response to our question about his claim that his company “painlessly euthanizes the chickens so there is no distress nor blood.” He wrote: “We use carbon dioxide gas to euthanize all our birds.” By “all our birds” he means the company’s breeding flocks as well as the roosters born from these flocks for their feathers.

Whiting Farms does not euthanize its birds. “Euthanasia” is a Greek word meaning a “good death.” Death by carbon dioxide is NOT euthanasia. It is a terrible, cruel death, and as animal scientist Mohan Raj explains, “Birds and other animals completely avoid, hesitate to enter, or rapidly evacuate from an atmosphere containing high concentrations of carbon dioxide.”

Carbon dioxide (CO2) activates brain regions in birds and mammals that are involved with the perception of pain. CO2 causes panic in response to the sensation of suffocation and breathlessness, or dyspnea, that occurs when the amount of atmospheric CO2 exceeds 30 percent. Inhalation of carbon dioxide is both painful and distressing because birds, like humans, have chemical receptors (intrapulmonary chemoreceptors) that are acutely sensitive to carbon dioxide. This sensitivity produces an effort to expel the gas by breathing more rapidly and deeply, but breathing more rapidly and deeply only increases the intake of CO2, leading to suffocation. This is the experience that Whiting Farms is putting its roosters and parent flocks through in order to extract feathers for fashion and fishing.

What Can I Do?

1) Write to Steven Tyler. Ask him to PLEASE stop wearing rooster feather hair extensions and to publicize his decision. A statement by Steven Tyler would help eliminate this evil fashion. There are many beautiful animal-free fabrics for Steven Tyler and others to wear instead of ornaments extracted by violence from mistreated birds.

Steven Tyler
Tenth Street Entertainment
568 Broadway, Suite 608
Eric Sherman, Josh Klemme, Liz Stahl
New York NY 10012

2) Contact AVEDA. One of our members in New York City was shocked to see feather hair extensions being prominently displayed for sale at the Scott J. Aveda Salon on W 72nd St. & Columbus Avenue in Manhattan. The feathers came from Whiting Farms via Plume Feathers Extensions. Aveda, which represents all of its products as plant-based “pure flower and plant essences” (www.aveda.com), assured UPC that feather hair extensions “don’t meet our mission” and “we don’t support the selling of these products” yet went on to say that their stores are owned and operated by people over whom Aveda has no control – despite the store carrying their name. This is not acceptable. Let Aveda hear from you. Many animal rights, vegetarian and other conscientious consumers patronize Aveda which has been nominated for Favorite Hair Care, Makeup, and Body Care in the 2011 Veggie Awards Survey conducted by VegNews Magazine (2011 Veggie Award Polls NOW OPEN).

Dominique Conseil, President
4000 Pheasant Ridge Drive
Blaine, MN 55449
Customer Service: 1-800-328-0849
Fax: 1-800-236-4301
Email: Aveda@aveda.com

Thank you for speaking out.

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