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Feather-free-Bed Lane? Shrewsbury street name change request by animal cruelty campaigners

Shrewsbury | News | Published:

It may sound quackers – but the bedrooms of people living on a street in Shrewsbury could soon be decked out with feather-free bedding.

Featherbed Lane, Shrewsbury

It is all part of a publicity stunt dreamed up by the animal rights organisation Peta.

It has written to Shrewsbury Mayor Ioan Jones and asked him to take a gander at the proposal.

Featherbed Lane is one of Shrewsbury's oldest roads, but despite its history it is now just another busy road with a mixture of homes and businesses along its stretch.

Its name caught the eye of activists at Peta, which stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. They say the use of feathers in beds is cruel – and want to change its name to Feather-free-Bed Lane.

As an added incentive, it says it will give every person in Featherbed Lane fluffy, feather-free duvets if the change takes place.

Peta says it realises its proposal is a little tongue-in-cheek, but insists it is a genuine offer.

The action follows a new Peta's expose of goose farms in China that shows birds being painfully live-plucked. In its proposal, Peta points out that accepting the offer would put Shrewsbury in the spotlight while promoting cruelty-free living among residents, who would be able to sleep soundly at night knowing no bird was tormented to stuff their duvets.

"Multiple Peta exposes have revealed that down bedding means live, struggling birds are pinned down and have their feathers violently ripped out", said its director Mimi Bekhechi. "With interest in vegan living at an all-time high, now is the perfect time to change this Shrewsbury street's name to signify that a good night's sleep for us doesn't have to be a nightmare for ducks and geese."

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Peta claims cruelty-free bedding is durable, machine washable, and more cost effective.

Councillor Jones confirmed he had received the letter and had given the issue some thought – although a change isn't believed to be imminent. There is a belief locally that Featherbed Lane got its name from being a place where the wounded were tended after the Battle of Shrewsbury.

Peta's letter in full:

Dear Mayor Jones,

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I'm writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) with an idea that would put Shrewsbury in the spotlight while promoting cruelty-free habits among residents: rename Featherbed Lane in the town's northeast outskirts "Feather-Free Bed Lane".

Many people aren't fully aware of the cruelty inflicted on animals at the hands of the down feather industry. Down is the soft layer of feathers closest to birds' skin, primarily in the chest region. These feathers are highly valued by manufacturers of down clothing and comforters because they don't have quills. While down and other feathers can be removed from ducks and geese during slaughter, many birds are plucked repeatedly while they're still alive.

A new PETA exposé of goose farms in China, the source of 80 per cent of the world's down, shows that workers pin geese down and rip their feathers out as the animals thrash about and scream. The struggling birds are often plucked so hard that their skin is torn open, and the hurried workers then sew up the wounds using a needle and thread – and no painkillers. Many endure this torture multiple times before finally being slaughtered long before they would die naturally.

Producers of foie gras have also been known to boost their profits by selling the feathers of force-fed ducks and geese. These birds already have to endure having tubes rammed down

their throats so that their stomachs can be pumped full of so much corn mush that their livers swell to about 10 times their normal size, which is how foie gras is made.

Fortunately, modern synthetic fibres that are warm, durable, allergen-free, machinewashable and, best of all, Earth- and bird-friendly are available on every high street and are

often cheaper to boot.

With interest in vegan living at an all-time high, it's the perfect time to change this lane's name from something which signifies cruelty to birds to a name which reminds people around the county that we all can have a good night's sleep without supporting a nightmare scenario for ducks and geese.

As further incentive, if you agree to adopt this new moniker, we'd be happy to provide every one of the lane's residents with cruelty-free bedding.

Please let me know your decision.

Yours sincerely,

Elisa Allen

Associate Director

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