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Down Production: Birds Abused for Their Feathers

The coldhearted and cruel down industry often plucks geese alive in order to get their down—the soft layer of feathers closest to a bird’s skin. These feathers are used to produce clothing and comforters, but for geese, the down industry’s methods are anything but comfortable.

Sad Goose in Mud at Down FarmCopyright Friedrich Mülln

Undercover video footage shows employees on goose farms pulling fistfuls of feathers out of live birds, often causing bloody wounds as the animals shriek in terror. The frightened animals are often squeezed upside down between workers’ knees during the painful procedure—in one instance, an investigator photographed a worker who was sitting on a goose’s neck in order to prevent her from escaping.

Live plucking causes birds considerable pain and distress. Once their feathers are ripped out, many of the birds, paralyzed with fear, are left with gaping wounds—some even die as a result of the procedure. Workers often sew the birds’ skin back together without using any anesthetics.

That’s not all—buying down can also support the cruelty of the foie gras and meat industries because many farmers who raise birds for food make an extra profit by selling their feathers as well. At the slaughterhouse, many of these birds are improperly stunned, which means that they are still conscious when their throats are cut and they are dumped into the scalding-hot water of the defeathering tank.


It’s impossible to tell whether the down used in the products you buy was obtained from live-plucked birds. The only way to stop live plucking and ensure that no birds suffer for your clothing or bedding is to choose cruelty-free materials. Please make the compassionate choice to sign the pledge to go down-free now!

If you haven’t already done so, please share this information on Facebook and Twitter with everyone you know so that they, too, can make the compassionate choice to pledge to be down-free. You can also spread the word to everyone that you come in contact with by wearing “Down Hurts” merchandise! That way, everyone will know that the down industry abuses birds.

Commenting is closed.
  • Trunchball says:

    I had no idea this sort of thing was happening. It is an outrage.

  • Carol says:

    Can’t believe that with all the man made materials we have now that this is still going on! Let’s get some compassion back!

  • Maria Ines Reynal says:

    Please stop this cruelty, animal feel pain and we have to respect their suffering.

  • Zelime V. Gizzi says:

    Please stop this horrible abuse animals.

  • Jamie says:

    feather pillows suck anyway they’re all pointy and stuff :/

  • Gareebadmy says:

    We should have laws to prosecute those who commit these atrocities and persecute them in internation criminal courts

  • julie says:

    Every time i force myself to watch these horrific videos, i cry, i imagine what these defensless animals endure at the hands of these barbaric monsters that call themselves humane beings. Makes me want to take action, against their suffering, that’s for sure. Thank you PETA for getting out the news and for all the undercover videos you post, i hope everyone will watch, it will change how you feel towards animals.

  • Ivonne Monjardin P says:

    What can we do, in order to stop this?

  • Victoria says:

    Don’t buy down and don’t financially support animal abusers! In fact, expose them every chance you get.

  • simon says:


  • Ray says:

    Very Grateful for the Video. MY SOLUTION: Consumers MUST have the right to know how animal commodities are raised and treated inside factories & farms. To inform consumers I suggest a simple law that would increase competition for less cruel treatment of animal commodities.

    A law that permits the public including independent parties and competitors to randomly inspect and video tape inside any farm or factory that uses, stores or raises live animal commodities. The videos are posted on the web and competitors may use the videos in their advertisements against competitors. The web address for the videos must be posted on the packaging by law.