Tag Archives: coats

That puffy parka has a dirty secret

By Alisa Mullins

In mid-November, when luxury outerwear company Canada Goose opened a brick-and-mortar store in Soho, its first in the U.S., there were more protesters outside the shop than customers inside. Why the kerfuffle over puffy parkas?

Canada Goose uses down from geese and ducks to insulate its parkas and fur from coyotes to trim the hoods. Obtaining these materials involves horrific cruelty. Coyotes killed for their fur are often caught in steel-jaw traps and may be left to languish for hours or even days (which is often illegal) before the trapper returns to shoot, bludgeon or suffocate them. Trapped animals, especially mothers with babies to care for, have been known to try to chew off their own limbs in an attempt to escape.

Down is often obtained from birds who are “live-plucked.” Workers grab them by the wings or neck, pin them to the ground and rip their feathers out by the fistful. The birds often sustain bloody, gaping wounds, the worst of which are sewn up using a needle and thread without any painkillers. Many endure this abuse several times before finally being slaughtered.

Canada Goose claims to use down only from birds who were slaughtered for their flesh, but PETA eyewitnesses recently spoke to down suppliers who bragged about misleading customers by selling them live-plucked down.

PETA has also documented grotesque abuses at farms that raise ducks for meat and down.

A recent PETA exposé of Culver Duck Farms in Indiana—which bills itself as the second-largest duck slaughterer in the U.S.—revealed shocking cruelty. Video captured by an eyewitness showed workers slamming ducks against brick walls and wooden studs, causing them to cry out between blows, and some were still alive, kicking and flapping their wings, for up to an hour afterward. One worker attempted to kill at least a dozen ducks by wringing their necks or slamming them against a wall, while another pulled a duckling’s head off, an action that the supervisor described as “normal.”

Despite stating on its website that birds are “NOT FACTORY FARMED!!!” Culver crammed up to 4,000 ducks at a time into massive, windowless sheds. They had no opportunity to swim or bathe, even though they would naturally spend most of their time in and around water. The warehouses reeked of ammonia from the ducks’ accumulated waste, which burned their skin and eyes. One duck’s eyes became so coated with mucus that he could barely see.

Culver reportedly slaughters 25,000 ducks every day. Although many of them are injured or lame, they are dumped, kicked or thrown onto trailers and hauled hundreds of miles to slaughter, sometimes during extreme weather conditions.

Ducks and geese need their down, and coyotes need their fur—we don’t. There are numerous high-tech alternatives to down, including Polarguard®, Plumtech®, PrimaLoft®, ThermoBall™, and Thinsulate™, all of which are affordable, innovative and effective. Luxurious faux fur is more in demand now than ever before, and top designers—including Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood and Armani, to name just a few—refuse to use any animal fur in their designs. “You really can’t tell the difference [between real and faux fur],” says McCartney. “There’s no reason to kill 15 million innocent creatures.”

Climbers of Mount Everest have worn all-vegan gear. If they can endure the world’s harshest conditions while remaining cruelty-free, surely the rest of us can manage coffee runs and camping trips without harming a hair—or a feather—on an animal’s head.

Webster Square: Saver’s Thrift Shop closing! Everything in store half off!


We’ve found some cool stuff at Savers through the years! Skirts, sweaters, dresses, jackets …

They have shoes, children’s gear … nighties and … Hey, if stuff is selling for a buck or two, it’s a sale worth checking out!

The HUGE store is located in the strip mall next to the old Webster Square cinema building!

AND, last but not least: They donate a percentage of their profits to the Worcester Boys and Girls Club.

Do some creative Holiday shopping, Creatives! Visit Savers!

text + pic: R. Tirella

Worcester news you can use!

First and foremost! Don’t forget!

Warm Winter Clothing Drive For the Homeless

Pleasant Street Baptist Church

165 Pleasant St.

10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

TODAY! Saturday, January 24

Volunteers will be accepting winter coats, jackets, sweaters, hats, mittens, gloves, socks, scarves … For men, women, teens, even little kids …

Free coffee and donuts for all who stop by and make a donation!


The Worcester Public Library is trying to expand their storytimes in other languages for children and families.

The Worcester Public Library in downtown Worcester is looking for adult volunteers FLUENT in Vietnamese and Portuguese for their World Languages Storytimes that begin this Spring 2015.

Volunteers will be trained and paid to conduct six storytimes for children 5 years old and under. If you’re interested please fill out the application in the Children’s Room of the Worcester Public Library.

Please call 508-799-1671 for more information.


Literacy Volunteers of Greater Worcester

… is pleased to announce an ESL Class for Women and Mothers only.  

It will help students improve their English and will be centered around helping them thrive in the community as women, as mothers and as grandmothers.

It is open to all women 18 years and older.


“Know Your Rights – Law Enforcement” workshop at the Nativity School of Worcester

The school will be hosting a workshop entitled “Police Encounters: Know My Rights If Stopped by Law Enforcement.” 


5:30 pm – 6:30 pm, Wednesday, February 4

at the school – 67 Lincoln St. (the old Lincoln House Girls Club).

We are proud to be partnering with the Committee for Public Counsel Services, Community Legal Aid, and the Worcester Police Department to make this timely presentation possible.

In light of recent tragic events around our country, it is essential that our young people learn their responsibilities and how to exercise their rights during an encounter with law enforcement.

For more information, call 508.799.0100


Another reminder! The WORCESTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS are always in need of warm winter outerwear for WPS students. Their COATS FOR KIDS program is phenomenal!

Some information for you by Paula Harrity: (Want to donate a coat? Please call 508-799-3030)

… a decision was made to provide new outerwear to children based on observations made by classroom teachers.

Teachers responded to survey by saying that for many of these children, it is probably the only new coat they have ever received and they are proud to wear them.

Parents are also grateful for this assistance that takes away the added burden of purchasing coats, hats, and gloves on already strained budgets.

The primary focus for this program is students in grades Prek-6, but other students (grade 6 and beyond) who are in need of warm clothing are also included.

Younger siblings of school-aged children who are living in homeless shelters are outfitted, whenever requested.

All Worcester Head Start sites and children who are serviced through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Grant (through the Head Start Program) are included.

Five sites through the Worcester Community Partnerships, a state subsidized program for pre-school centers, are also serviced. Students are selected by building principals and sites directors based on need.

Once a need has been determined, size and gender information is submitted to the WPS Volunteer Office. In the past, the Volunteer Office has collaborated with the Junior League of Worcester, Inc. (JLW) to coordinate shopping for these students. Junior League shoppers buy the items requested and in some cases deliver the items directly to the schools. Other volunteers, who include retired school department employees, college students, and community members, also shop for the outerwear.

It is important to note that each child is considered individually (names, of course, are kept private), and clothing is color coordinated and chosen to suit the age and gender of the child. These items are brought to the Volunteer Office for distribution to the sites.

Before delivery, clothing is checked, price tags are removed, and the items are bagged for individual students, and delivered to the sites.

Students from area high schools, especially those from South High’s Academy of Education, Service and Government, have assisted the Volunteer Office with this process.

Individuals from the community also contact the Volunteer Office directly and “sponsor” a child by going out on their own to do the shopping.

Students, faculty and employees from Assumption College and University of Massachusetts Medical School and Medical Center have also shopped for items.

Help the homeless stay warm!

We posted this info weeks ago … in case you’ve forgotten …


Warm Winter Clothing Drive For the Homeless

Pleasant Street Baptist Church

165 Pleasant St.

10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Saturday, January 24

Go through your closets this coming week! If you, your partner and/or kids don’t wear it any more, DONATE IT!

Volunteers will be accepting winter coats, jackets, sweaters, hats, mittens, gloves, socks, scarves … For men, women, teens, even little kids …

Free coffee and donuts for all who stop by and make a donation!

Go, Worcester, go!

– R. T.

Looking for last-minute holiday gifts such as … vintage goodies, clothing and household items?

CAM00922 (1)A few months ago my neighbor gave me this blouse and other goodies. What I didn’t use I donated to non-profits, with one very nice pair of shoes (new) going to Abby’s. … All your donations are tax-deductible.   – R. Tirella

… then shop where our Parlee Jones works – ABBY’S HOUSE!

52 High St., Worcester

Parlee runs their homeless shelter; she places women, often fleeing domestic violence, in safe spaces.

By shopping at Abby’s House THRIFT SHOP (52 High St., across the street from St. Paul’s Cathedral) you support the shelter and the homeless women for whom it spells HOME.

Lots of greats buys! Lots of items Diamonds in the Rough! Don’t forget! The money you spend at the shop goes towards supporting Worcester’s iconic women’s shelter.


Learn more (from their website):

Abby’s House Thrift Shop

The Abby’s House Thrift Shop continues to be our largest single source of revenue.

All of the profits from sales at the Thrift Shop fund our emergency shelter.

The Thrift Shop is full of quality clothing, accessories, home goods, and bargain-priced cosmetics.

We encourage you to visit the store today, not only to donate clothing and homegoods, but to add some great pieces to your wardrobe!


Monday through Thursday: 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Fridays: 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Saturdays: 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

The Thrift Shop is closed on holidays. When Worcester Public Schools declares a snow day, the Thrift Shop will be closed.

In case of bad weather, please call ahead to make sure we’re open: (508) 756-5486 extension 12.

Making Donations:

Donations are accepted during regular shop hours. We are happy to accept gently used, seasonal women’s clothing in good condition and household items of all kinds including kitchenware, lamps and decorative items. New, unopened health and beauty products are also welcome.

At times we are in need of furniture in good condition that may be used to set up an apartment, such as small kitchen sets or desk sets. If you would like to make a furniture donation, please call ahead.

We do NOT accept books, computers, TVs, furniture, records, record players, hangers, used pillows, men’s clothing or used children’s clothing and toys.

Please note that due to the new laws regarding child safety we can only accept children’s clothing or toys if they are NEW, in package or tagged.

CLICK HERE to visit the Abby’s House website to learn more!

Still time to donate coats to WPS’s “Coats for Kids”

By Paula Harrity, coordinator of volunteers, Worcester Public Schools

Every day school is in session, more than 23,000 students converge on the Worcester Public Schools. More than two thirds of these children are poor, many do not speak English as a first language in their home, and increasingly, the Worcester Public Schools welcomes refugees who have come here from war torn nations, and they have witnessed first-hand the horrors of mass destruction and hunger.

The Coats for Kids program provides new winter outerwear to needy children who attend the Worcester Public Schools, Worcester Head Start, Community Partnerships and for Children, and several area homeless shelters. This service began 25 year ago and serviced 400 children. Last year (2010-2011) 2,200+ children were given new winter jackets, hats & mittens. This past year the program was expanded to secondary students. In addition, a quantity of winter jackets, hats & mittens were provided to the Parent Information Center to have on hand for needy families arriving from other countries.

Students who receive this service are referred by the building principal or program directors. All of these children are at or below the poverty level and qualify for free or reduced school lunches. The program takes place from mid October to mid January. Families are very thankful for this assistance for this service during these very difficult economic times.

This past year the program expanded to include secondary schools, the SAMS program, ACT program (all sites), Adult Education and Alternative Education programs.

Individuals who donate to this program range from individual community members; to church, work and family groups. Individuals or groups can get the information and do the shopping themselves or send in a donation and the Worcester Educational Development Foundation, Inc and Junior League of Worcester assists with the shopping. We also have a group of shoppers from RSVP-Worcester Area Volunteers who assist with shopping.

We are also very fortunate to have so many corporate/business partners for this project. They donate funding, serve as drop off sites and get employees involved in the program and serve on the advisory board.

This program is administered through the Worcester Public Schools Volunteer Office.

Fall’s hottest trend? Hint: it’s not fur

By Paula Moore

Folks in West Hollywood, California, are well known for their support of forward-looking legislation, so it didn’t come as any surprise when the WeHo City Council unanimously voted to ban sales of apparel made from animal fur last month. If the ordinance gets final approval, West Hollywood will become the first city in the U.S. that’s officially fur-free.

WeHo’s decision is just another nail in the fur industry’s coffin. Kind people around the world are recognizing that there’s nothing glamorous about the way animals suffer and die for fur. “The fur trend in the U.S. is toward fake,” says Amy Lechner, an analyst with Pell Research, which estimates that sales of faux fur will increase by 30 percent over the next two years.

Lawmakers and trendmakers alike are responding to this growing anti-fur sentiment.

Earlier this year, the European Parliament approved a new regulation requiring that all clothing containing fur or leather be clearly marked with labels stating, “Non-textile parts of animal origin.” Explains EP member Eva-Britt Svensson of Sweden, “Consumers must have the information to be able to ethically opt out of fur products and the cruel conditions in which they are often produced.”

Fashion icons as diverse as Michele Obama, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Lady Gaga have all publicly sworn off fur. So has Oprah Winfrey. In the October issue of O magazine, editor in chief Susan Casey describes the “aha moment” that led Winfrey to stop wearing fur 20 years ago. While looking at a sable cape in her closet, Winfrey had “a visceral sense of how many four-leggeds had been used in its creation, bred specifically to be killed.” Like Oprah, O magazine is fur-free.

Stella McCartney, Calvin Klein, Vivienne Westwood and Ralph Lauren are just a few of the top designers who refuse to use real fur in their collections. High-end design houses such as Prada and Chanel are increasingly offering faux-fur options—Karl Lagerfeld even based Chanel’s Fall 2010 collection around fake fur. Faux-fur vests and other accessories are bestsellers on HSN.

While previous generations may have worn real fur without considering its impact on animals and the environment, today’s consumers can’t claim not to know what happens before animals are turned into capes and coats. Just this month, newspapers around the world ran shocking stories about raccoon dogs—a canine species native to Asia—who are being skinned alive in China to create knock-off versions of Uggs.

PETA’s affiliate PETA Asia-Pacific investigated fur farms and markets in China and found that raccoon dogs are beaten with steel pipes and left to die slowly as they writhe in agony in full view of other animals. Rabbits’ necks are broken while the animals are still conscious and able to feel pain. On fur farms, animals live in barren wire cages—exposed to all weather extremes—as frozen piles of waste accumulate below them. Many animals frantically pace and turn in circles in their cages.

West Hollywood councilmember John D’Amico, who sponsored WeHo’s fur ban, predicts that “the impact will be heard from here to Fifth Avenue. People will talk about what a fur ban means in a new way.” While we wait to see if other progressive cities will follow WeHo’s lead, we can all take a stand against an industry that confines animals to cramped cages, violently beats them and rips the skin off their bodies—by banning fur from our closets.

Paula Moore is a senior writer for The PETA Foundation.