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Toni Nagy Headshot

Fatal Feathers

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Close your eyes and picture a modern hippie environmentalist chick. Now open them so you can read the rest of this. What did she look like? Was she wearing flowing clothes that are perfect for sitting in lotus position while waiting for fair trade, organic, freshly-brewed Kombucha at the local farmers' market? Perhaps a spiritual tattoo of a poem written in Sanskrit between two Om symbols she got branded into her skin at Burning Man? Maybe mala beads adorning her wrists with a jade toe ring of her Mayan astrological sign? Potentially feathers in her hair from the latest desert trance festival where she expanded her consciousness with DMT? All that sounds beautiful and majestic except for the fact that those feathers were harvested from murdered roosters who were put to death in a gas chamber!

I recently came across an article from PETA discussing this fashion trend, and how the providers of these mystical accessories are roosters that are killed for the few feathers that happen to look fantastic died various colors and nestled softly in your hair. According to PETA and ABC News Denver, not only are these birds being killed for the sole purpose of a these feathers, but their quality of life while on planet earth is one you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

"These conditions include confining roosters to solitary cages stacked one on top of the other in noisy, windowless sheds until the birds are finally gassed and skinned. Mr. Whiting admits that he and his workers abuse the birds, even hurling them across the barn." -PETA

First of all, I don't know who would admit to abusing birds and still expect to get laid, and second of all, is this not the most paradoxical thing you have ever heard? Or at least heard today? That a trend amongst women who want to prove their connection to the earth and worthiness of a Grateful Dead song being written about them, are putting the energy of massacred bird victims on their heads? It is so absurd it is borderline comical if you have that dark George Carlin / Doug Stanhope sense of humor.

I am not blaming the hippie chicks for the existence of these rooster-killing farms. They would be around anyway because fly fisherman use the same feathers, but fly fisherman kill fish too so at least there is some consistency. Not that I know anything about fly fishing besides Brad Pitt's chest in A River Runs Through It, but according to NPR, now the fly fisherman can't get their "cock feathers" because they are in such high demand. In fact, currently tens of thousands of roosters are being killed per week so you can look like a rock star tree-hugger.

People kill animals, I am aware of that, but I am under the impression that most of these feather consumers don't know that they might as well be wearing a fur jacket while hunting down rhinos for their tusks to beat a baby seals with. When you go to the fine featherheads website that the PETA article mentions, you are greeted with a video of carefree girls frolicking in a field eating cupcakes with their hair pinned in gravity-defying ways so you can see the feathers sprinkled throughout. They look amazing, but when I think of all the dead animals in their fashion forward wake, it has a semi sinister feeling. Mostly because it seems so hypocritical, or maybe because I am a hypocrite because I want some in my hair but don't want to look like a hypocrite after writing all this.

I am not saying I know the solution, because if you used fake feathers they would probably be off-gassing toxic cancer-causing plastic, right? I guess going out into the woods and harvesting fallen feathers isn't exactly financially viable either, although if you got virgins to do it you could sell them for a lot more. I guess what I am looking for is some uniformity. If you are going to wear or sell feathers that were plucked from skinned, murdered roosters then while you are at it, go crazy and wear leather, eat veal, hurt a few flies, and harpoon a whale in the face.

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