Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The Tragedy of Fashion

Unhappily, though the truth about these things has been declared persistently for many years past, the fashion in feathers is more cruel to-day than ever. Never was there such an enormous demand for plumes as last year in London. The slaughter of bird life is becoming appalling. In Venezuela alone, more than two million birds were killed last year, and one London dealer admitted a dozen years ago, when the trade was not nearly so flourishing as it is now, that he sold two millions of small birds in twelve months.

Three recent consignments to London included 10,000 birds of paradise, nearly 800 packages of osprey feathers, 6,700 crested pigeons, 5,500 Impeyan pheasants, 500 bird skins, 270 cases of peacocks' feathers, 1,500 Argus pheasants, and 500 various small birds. Fifty thousand ounces of white egret feathers were sold at auctions in London last year. The figures should bring a blush to the cheeks of every gentlewoman. Six egrets must be killed for every ounce of this feather, so that the number of adult birds killed for those feathers was 900,000. That, however, takes no note of the young birds which perished of hunger and neglect. This would bring the number up to at least a million, so that we find that the feathers sold in London alone to deck the hats of the women of "Christian" England involved the torture and death of a million beautiful birds!

Excerpt taken from The Young Woman Illustrated Monthly Magazine - July 1900

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