Australian fashion brand Bardot has announced it will no longer use ostrich feathers in its future collections after witnessing graphic footage provided by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The exposé video, which was reportedly taken at the world's largest ostrich abattoirs, shows workers violently slaughtering ostriches by forcing them into stun boxes and slitting their throats in full view of their flockmates.
Workers can be seen striking terrified birds in the face and laughing and joking as ostriches stumble over collapsed birds.
PETA's action comes after Bardot released a black, 100% ostrich-feather dress in September and was met with consumer backlash.
"Wow I love Bardot but this is not ok," one consumer commented on the brand's Facebook post advertising the dress.
"My heart breaks for all the animals who went through unimaginable suffering for these dresses to be created. This is not fashion. I'm so disappointed," the commenter said.
In response to PETA, Bardot said it had not been aware of the violence ostriches endure in the name of fashion.
Bardot CEO Basil Artemides said that the business has taken action to halt the use of ostrich feathers in its garments.
"After becoming aware of these sourcing issues and post the feedback from our consumers we have cancelled, at substantial cost, all work in progress and future orders," he said.
Because ostriches don't moult and therefore don't drop feathers for collection, their plumes are obtained in one of two ways: by live plucking or by post-mortem plucking after they're slaughtered for their flesh or skin.
According to PETA, during live plucking the ostriches are blindfolded and held down – which causes them to panic – before their feathers are pulled out of the follicle by hand or with pliers.
Some are returned to cages, bleeding from their fresh wounds while others are shot or electrically shocked and hung upside down with their throats being subsequently slit.
PETA Australia spokesperson Emily Rice said that PETA is thrilled that Bardot has taken quick action.
"More and more consumers are turning their backs on fashion items that spell suffering for animals.
"People have made it known that feathers are only beautiful on the birds they belong to, and we're thrilled that Bardot has made the compassionate decision not to use them in its future collections," she said.