The Down Industry



According to PETA:

“Down is the soft layer of feathers closest to birds’ skin, primarily in the chest region. These feathers are highly valued by manufacturers of down clothing and comforters because they do not have quills. While most down and other feathers are removed from ducks and geese during slaughter, birds in breeding flocks and those raised for meat and foie gras may be plucked repeatedly while they are still alive.

Plucking causes geese and ducks considerable pain and distress. Typically, they are lifted by their necks or delicate wings, their legs are physically restrained or tied, and their feathers are ripped right out of their skin. The struggling birds are often plucked so hard that their skin is torn open and the hurried workers sew up the wounds using needle and thread and no painkillers. Plucking may begin when the animals are just 10 weeks old and be repeated in six-week intervals until the birds are slaughtered for meat long before they would naturally die.

According to a Slate Investigation:

“Buying down can also support the cruelty of the foie gras industry. Producers of foie gras often boost their profits by selling the feathers of force-fed ducks and geese. These birds already have to endure having tubes rammed down their throats and their stomachs pumped full of so much corn mush that their livers swell to about 10 times their normal size, which is how foie gras is made.”

Down is harvested as a byproduct of the meat industry, and there are a number of ways that animals can suffer. Geese and ducks raised for slaughter go from a parent farm where they are laid to a hatchery, then a raising farm, and finally the slaughterhouse when they are 12 to 16 weeks old. These animals may be force-fed to make them fat and tender, especially if they are being raised for foie gras production. Ducks and geese that stay in the parent farm to produce eggs live four to five years. When they molt, farmers collect their down; but since they live for so long, there’s an economic temptation to live-pluck the birds—which is, needless to say, incredibly painful and distressing to them—so that they repeatedly grow new feathers and can contribute down throughout their lives.”



Learn More

Slate: What’s Good for the Goose

PETA: The Down Industry

PETA: Exposed: Despite ‘Responsible Down Standards,’ Farms Still Live-Plucking Geese


Follow Campaign

 PETA:  Anti-Down Campaign

Peta2: Kalel Is Not Down With Down



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Recycled Down

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rdsThe standard was created by The North Face to help ensure traceability and responsibility for feather & down material.

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Responsible Down
TNF Responsible Down Standard

nsfThis standard was created by Patagonia to help ensure traceability and responsibility for feather & down material.

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NSF – Global Traceable Down Standard
Patagonia Traceable Down

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