With the holiday shopping season in high gear, Alicia Silverstone is blowing the cover off a cruel product that flies under most shoppers’ radar: down.

In a new PETA video exposé, Silverstone offers a behind-the-scenes view of the down industry, showing how millions of geese and ducks are plucked for their feathers while they are still alive—a traumatic and painful experience.

“No matter where it comes from, down is a product of cruelty to birds,” Silverstone says as workers are shown yanking fistfuls of feathers from live geese and ducks, often tearing open their flesh, which is then sewn up using a needle and thread and without giving the birds painkillers. Another surprise: Buying down can also support foie gras — which is now illegal in California and many other parts of the world — as foie gras producers often sell the feathers of ducks and geese who are force-fed in order to enlarge their livers. At the slaughterhouse, birds used for their down and feathers go through a petrifying experience when they are hung upside down while still alive and stunned with electricity before being plunged into scalding-hot defeathering tanks — sometimes while they are still conscious.

“You can help stop this suffering by purchasing only down-free products and encouraging all your friends and family members to do the same,” concludes Silverstone, a longtime PETA supporter and vegan. “This is one simple way to make a huge difference for animals.”

Silverstone also sat down for an interview with PETA, in which she discusses her upcoming vegan parenting book, The Kind Mother, as well as how she avoids down. “Even in costumes … I’ve said please don’t use any feathers anywhere …. I feel great not using down and feathers—there’s no need for it at all.”

For more information, and to enter to win a down-free puffer coat from hot vegan outerwear line Vaute Couture, please visit PETA.org.

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