Attention Hipsters: Your Trends Are So Dead

Posted by Lisa Franzetta, ALDF's Director of Communications on July 5, 2011

In hipster enclaves from Silver Lake to Williamsburg, the long July 4 weekend no doubt meant a serious run on PBR, miles of windblown bangs, and artfully-uniformed ironic dodge ball games (the short shorts! the tube socks!). All in good fun, unless you got a badly timed tattoo last week and spent our nation’s Independence Day hiding in the shade with a piece of Saran Wrap on your bicep.

tattooI mean, I can abide your trends, you hipster people, though they may creep me out (mustaches), confuse me (Pocahontas-style headdresses), endanger pedestrians (fixie bikes), and generally fail to flatter (ironic detachment). But kitsch should never come at the cost of animal cruelty–and there are a few hipster trends that need to be as over as MySpace.

First of all, ladies (and certain fabulous boys): your Ke$ha-inspired hair feathers are fun, they are funky, they are totally giving you that tousled, “Whoa, I just woke up in a dumpster!” look that you so covet. Well done. The long, skinny feathers, called hackles, have traditionally been used by fly fishermen to make lures, and they are plucked from the butts of specially-bred roosters–roosters who have to be slaughtered by the tens of thousands each year so their hackles can be “harvested.” The New York Times reported last week that the trend is so prevalent, rabid stylists have been raiding fishing shops around the country, “causing fly shops and hairdressers to compete for the elusive plumes.” Generally speaking, I’d love to put my money behind the hairdressers in a death match with fishermen. But instead of killing birds for the sake of your hair extensions, how about you just pop on a trucker hat and call it a day?

All that hair styling can make a hipster hungry–and a certain bougie brand of hipster has embraced the local food movement with open, pinup-covered arms. At its foundation, eating locally–i.e., purchasing fresh, healthy food produced by farmers within, say, less than 100 miles away–is an important and admirable goal that will bring us closer to the production of our food supply, from which we have been so freakishly distanced in the last one hundred years of human history. But too often, I hear arguments for “locavorism” used to defend the continued consumption of meat by people who claim to be motivated by the goal of environmental sustainability. The Harvard Business Review blog recently did its part to debunk the myth that “the best way to shrink your food-related carbon footprint associated would be to buy from near by.” Rather, in explaining a study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, they note that meat requires so much more energy to produce than plant-based foods, “just moving away from meat for one day a week is more effective than buying everything you eat locally.” It’s enough to make you let your membership to the Elite Artisanal Butchery Club for Urban Man-children lapse.

And so we come to today’s final hipster trend that ought to be dead because it is, in fact, literally dead. I realize I’m very late to the party when it comes to commenting on the sudden ubiquity of bacon, but hipsters–you’ve taken it too far. In my own hipster haven of Oakland, California, I’ve come across, in the last week alone, bacon chocolate bars, bacon doughnuts, and a bacon-infused whiskey option for my cocktail. Die-hard hipsters, I realize, may be operating under the precept that everything blue collar is cool again–including coronary artery disease, apparently (and excluding actual jobs, if the bars in my neighborhood in the middle of the afternoon are any indication). Maybe you just feel left out if you aren’t one of the skinny jean-clad legion making frequent Facebook status updates about the deliciousness of bacon. If I’m talking about you, please wipe the grease off your plastic-framed glasses and watch Mercy for Animals’ most recent investigation of an Iowa pig farm. Released just last week, the footage shows “small piglets being hurled to a concrete floor; large, fully grown sows gnawing the bars on their tiny cages; pigs with open sores lying untended on the ground; piglets squealing as their tails are cut off without benefit of anesthetic; and workers tossing live piglets back and forth and describing them as ‘bouncy.'” I cannot imagine anyone with a human heart watching this video and continuing to be able to gobble down bacon–no matter what degree of soullessness he wishes his style to convey.

Any other animal-unfriendly trends that need to be retired to the Vice magazine “don’t” pages? Share your comments!

9 thoughts on “Attention Hipsters: Your Trends Are So Dead

  1. sugarpuff says:

    well said madame. cruel is not cool.

  2. Ruth Moser says:

    That all Fireworks should be banned everywhere.
    What a horrible waste of money – usually some political hack company looking for support from the corrupt politicians in place in Whatever Town. Fireworks are so passe now. Bombs bursting in air, really?! Fireworks are dangerous, kill birds in the trees, frighten animals and children leave acrid smoke behind.
    Occasionally wipe out a technician or two.
    All that money spent of gunpowder can be used so much more helpfully other places.

  3. Melissa says:

    They have to kill the roosters to get the feathers? Do they also use the meat of the roosters, or waste their bodies after the hackles are harvested?

  4. kim says:

    Even worse as far as feathers go are those which are plucked from live birds to obtain down feathers for jackets and pillows or cat toys! This of course is most prevalent in China. They can get 3 or 4 sets of feathers off one bird. This is unbelievably cruel. DO NOT BUY FEATHERS AND TELL YOUR PET STORE TO STOP STOCKING CHINESE FEATHER TOYS.

  5. Lorelei says:

    The declawing of cats is inhumane, unnecessary, and outdated. Radical surgical solutions to behavior problems went out with lobotomies in human medicine, and the practice of amputating all of a cat’s toes in retaliation for normal and natural scratching behavior needs to go if we are to call ourselves a civilized and progressive nation.

  6. don says:

    No, the meat is not wasted. It is ground up and fed to mink on fur farms.

  7. Reagan says:

    That tattoo is gorgeous! Any chance it will be making an appearance as a temporary tat like your other one? :)

    Great points- I always knew hipsters were harmful!

  8. Fox tails! If it’s not the feathers in the hair or the ugly grandpa leather shoes it is the real fur fox tails, clipped on the the belt loops or army bags of hipsters.

  9. Lisa Franzetta says:

    Melissa–the roosters are raised specifically for their feathers, not their flesh, so while I don’t know for sure, my assumption is that the rest of their bodies are not used. Animals killed for their meat are generally bred to have unnaturally large bodies–in the case of turkeys, for instance, their legs often break under the weight of their own huge bodies.

    Reagan–thanks, we love our tattoo design, too! Currently, it’s available on a number of items in our Cafe Press store:

    We do have a similar design that is also available as a temporary tattoo: Email us at, and we’ll send you a handful!


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