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This question was posted in a public backpacking forum just a short time ago:
"If I happened upon a pristine planet full of wildlife somewhere, and decided to use it for producing sleeping bags, I think I would do a lot less harm, and cause a lot less suffering on balance, by making them from silk and down than by making them from plastics."
Of course it got me thinking, which is why we're here now. Hi!
I imagined the most ethically-and-morally responsible way it could happen, starting with absolutely wild geese not conditioned in any way to humans...imagined people not conditioning or capturing them, striving only to interact with them in the most "natural" way possible...imagined people stealthily sneaking up to geese nests as they are away to steal plumes of the finest down...the range of reactions such an action would receive on the public scale in today's actual world...the nature of the conflict...
Then I thought about the geese. As I understand it the geese are assaulted quite frequently, almost the whole time they are nesting, by myriad predators and thieves. To guard the nest is a part of their life. To the individual goose, people carefully coming up to the nest--in the manner they would need to in order to steal down--would certainly look like any other animal that comes along for something, and would be handled in the same way, without any bias, methinks.
In other words, the nature of the argument that certain products, made in certain ways with certain techniques, are not to be desired on the grounds of their immoral or unethical practices towards an "involved" animal might not be as I previously thought...