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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.
  • CrystalWings says:

    This is just awful, horrendous, sickening, and I can’t believe its allowed to happen. It just can’t be legal. As a bird lover, sometime rescuer and private hobby breeder (small finches and canaries) who feels enriched and honoured to see & hold their tiny living newborns, the still photo was more than enough. I simply cannot bring myself to watch the video or I’ll be sick first and then uncontrollably angry, just as I was with the fur trade evidence and this is just as bad. Please, everyone, do what you can to help, surely with enough voices there MUST be a way to put a stop to this and quickly?

  • Harry .S says:

    This is horrific. I never thought as this before. STOP. There are alternatives.

  • luanapi says:

    stop this please

  • Jean says:

    How can people inflict such cruelty on innocent creatures. It is completely unnecessary and must be stopped.

  • barbara stoner says:

    i was just invited to a mary k party. it was two parties. one for my grandaughter and one for my daughter. between both parties there were twenty people. needless to say both parties will be canceled.

  • Hatchery says:

    Humans suck! We must be the cruelest animals on Earth.

  • Donna Graham says:

    I could not even read the full article – brought me to tears this horrific and needs to be stopped. I hope authorities find their humanity and help these poor birds.

  • Maureen Lock says:

    Poor things – what horrible cruelty. Completely unnecessary. those that cause this suffering should be made to suffer too.

  • jonathon harris-douglas says:

    simply evil. boycott these products and let these birds live their own lives. selfish humans as usual.

  • suzanne webb says:

    this is disgusting and i wont buy anything with feathers again until this is redeemed

  • Noddy says:

    Please stop this cruelty, I can’t see how these barbarians can call themselfes human, because it is not human to hurt another living being.

  • SUZIE TUCKER says:

    please help these birds

  • april silverman says:

    I don’t know how people can do this to any animal, no less to a beautiful bird. I’d throw up, if I had to sleep on a bird’s bloody feathers! Sadism and greed are vile! “My Pillow” which is made of synthetics is soo comfy, and washable, as well.

  • Denise - Brisbane Australia says:

    This is a terrible act and very inhumane. I did not realise that this went on. I shall be letting everyone know about this shocking and appauling industry. Why Do Humans Do this??? It is beyond me to inflict pain on an animal and I don’t get what they get out of it. They are sick!!!

  • Cat says:

    stop this cruel

  • charles malesev says:


  • MARGUERITE says:


  • Diane Dahlstrom says:

    This is pure abuse..and must be stopped.

  • Jackeline Rolly says:

    Breaks my heart 🙁

  • Nancy Freyer says:

    Stop this Arcane and Inhumane practice immediately!!

  • Marguerite Ciofani says:

    It is horrific– where are the talkshow hosts on this– does anyone care? We need to have brands and stores that carry them– and boycott them and spread the word facebook etc. But Ellen show– or Morning shows– cant they be contacted????

  • chander kumar soni says:

    very bad, this is not humanity.

  • Reinahdrt van Zyl says:

    That is disgusting.

  • Shalini says:

    This is horrendous …. so sad. How can this be allowed …. shame on them!

  • Monika Calvert says:

    I am sickened by Humans abusing innocent animals around the world. We need to put a stop to this.
    Animals are not in the world by being abused by Humans.

  • Karen says:

    For days I couldn’t even look at this site. Thank you for exposing this industry for what it is.

  • Donna Lee says:

    How horrendous that we humans continue to inflict pain on the other animals of the planet. May God forgive us all.

  • Toni says:

    We must educate the ignorant and stop this type of cruelty once and for all. These animals are not just ours to do with as we choose. They are living, breathing, feeling creatures.

  • Glynis Swigelaar says:

    I pledge to go down free.

  • Diane Matchett says:

    WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE!!! I don’t know how they can sleep at night-they are absolutely disgusting!

  • Wanda says:

    Haven’t bought anything with down in years…and pledge to never, ever in the future!

  • ValDawn says:

    This is just wrong, inhumane, cruel, abusive, and unGodly. This abusive act toward these beautiful Birds must be demanded to be stopped, the governemnt will not help in this cause, its time for everyone who cares about animals to make their voice heard, stand up and speak out!!. If we knew the whereabouts of the factories we could picket, put pressure on these down factories and show the public that for their comfort a beautiful bird suffered tremendously….lets speak out people!!!

  • Yui Imoto says:

    They are respective lives as same as human.
    how inhumanity things it is.
    please stop!

  • Angela says:

    Why are people so cruel? I just don’t understand how they can know, and obviously not care, about the pain and distress they cause animals.

  • nina says:


  • kayla says:

    animal cruelty is not acceptable, this needs to be stopped immediately

  • Mario Q says:

    BREAKS MY HEART to think that in this day and age, when we can create an alternative to down, people still buy these products for the “feel” of it!!! Wish they could FEEL the pain and suffering of these poor defenseless creatures.

  • Barbara A Wood says:

    This is just such a tradgedy and a big shame and it needs to stop today! We should be caring for these birds, not harming them!

  • elena says:

    I’m so sorry. I love animals and I always try to respect their life and their death, but I’ve bought without thinking how
    things go on in down industry. I’ll never ever buy any other product from this industry.

  • Mary says:

    Have taken the pledge in the past but will renew it. I’ll also question LL Bean, a company I buy from frequently, as to their knowledge of the source of goose down used in their products.
    Thank you for your work.

  • Mark Rieser says:

    I am glad to use the power of my spending to avoid all down products. This is so sick!

  • Tamra T. says:

    Thank you for bringing this horrific act into the light. I grew up with several geese that lived on our pond, they are very precious and docile creatures. This has to be stopped! Heartbreaking. Many hotels offer down comforters and pillows. Let’s all be aware of that in our travels. I know I will from now on.

  • hddragracer says:

    “Human” cruelty never ceases to amaze me. However, I’m not surprised by this. If the men who do this “type of work” would do this to their child, or if someone else…did it, they’d “see the error of their ways.” It just sickens me “God” the “merciful,” allows this kind of treatment! If there were a “God” allowing this, I’d personally KICK HIS BUTT!

  • Barbara Daniels says:

    This is disgusting and makes me sick. These people should be thrown in jail for life!!!

  • prairiegal says:

    Absolutely sickening what the human race can do. Use synthetic.

  • patricia says:

    this business needs to be exposed for what it really is … a horrible, insensitive way to treat other living beings …to quote Mahatma Gandhi”The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”

  • Diana says:

    I am not a down user nor will I ever be after reading this. Someone has to end this abuse!!

  • DINKA Laetitia says:

    Stop :Horreurs

  • Debbie says:

    Disgraceful beyond belief. Just leave animals alone for goodness sake. The indifference towards animals is rediculous and shocking.

  • Norma says:

    Why isn’t there a law against this kind of thing. It’s bad enough that the animals are killed for food but they could at the least do it humanely, instantly so that the animal doesn’t suffer.