Skip to Main Content

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.
  • Rajani Iyer says:

    Animals are so innocent like infants. Their mind is so pure. Animals are beautiful, I feel all like my own children. I hate the humans those who are torchering them for food and for their selfish things. Unfortunately those who are born as animals they have cruel fate in the hands of humans. Humans have made changes and developed in the world , this is the sentence, but I do not believe this since they do not know to treat the speechless innocent creatures they are worst than Ghosts. What is the difference between our body and animals body only outer appearance is changed but they have all the feelings of pain like us. Before torchering why humans are thinking if it happens to his place in that worst moments. Sorry, why GOD is also not helping that poor creatures. Only GOD can change this situation. All my sincere prayers are there every day to save the innocent creatures who are facing very badly in the hands of humans in name sake of food and skin.

  • dr.jyoti gupta says:

    we dont have any right to be called humanbeings!


    shame on humanity, pure evil

  • Konstantinos Koutalis says:

    I still cannot believe that human beings can be so cruel… go veg people!
    And stop using any animal products (either food / clothes etc!!!)

  • vilma says:

    i cant understand what happen with these people…sick mind perhaps…??

  • Boand Sandrine says:

    I can’t understand why and How, we can do this to an animal. I’m afraid from this cruality. It’s time to change, the prehistory is ended….My heart and my prayers go to every animal who blessed. GOD help us, help them please….

  • Erin says:

    it is too sad for what these poor animal’s go tho day and day out,it makes sick and pissed as well too,STOP with this too

  • Gogo says:

    Oh My God! It goes to show how cruel the human race really is. I guess all cultures can actually say they have that in common. I can’t believe that happens to this day. I actually think our ancestors were way more appropriate than us greedy people!

  • Matt Kirk says:

    Take a look all; what do you think of our wonderful human race now?! I am a proud vegetarian and supporter of animal rights. STOP THESE VILE PRACTICES!!

  • Natasja f. B says:

    I hate the people who do this to animals.

  • J DeMuria says:

    This is disturbing. I just dont understand how anyone can get up every day and do this as their job / career. Very close to turning me into a vegan.

  • caz says:

    Why are some humans so cruel to animals, it makes me sick, stop the cruelty NOW!!! All animals have the right to live a happy safe life.

  • Val Kelly says:

    Such sink animal cruelty methods will definitely make me a vegan; not just for geese and birds but cattle, etc.

    These are sick individuals committing these crimes.

  • Olivia Gough says:

    I am so paralyzed just by watching this, i cannot imagine how those suffering birds feel! This madness must end and why not today make a change and spread the word and if you already haven’t send this information to everyone you know!

  • france fayet says:


  • mariet says:

    please stop this suffering!!!! its up to the governments….
    but it seems that greed is ruling everywhere on our beautifull planet…..the human race almost seems to be an error of design…

  • elena consigli says:

    stop cruelty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! animals have the same right to live safe and healty, just like us!!!!!!!!

  • William Thielen says:

    Besides getting angry and pledging not to buy down, you didn’t mention in your article what we can do? How can we make life painful for the miscreants who torture geese for a living?

  • Dr Rossemarie Martin says:

    I urge you to stop this cruel and barbaric practice immediately. I intend to use my contacts to let people know just how these birds are being treated for the ‘Down’ trade. How can you call yourselves civilized? Birds feel pain, cold just as humans do and if you do believe in God, they are Gods creatures too. Shame on you !

  • sandra says:

    will animal cruelty ever end. i doubt it. I just cant believe the horrors i read everytime i come to the website. only a person that has no heart and only cares about money can do these cruelty acts. Is a sick world.

  • Josette Novorosky says:

    Shame on society and our gov’t for allowing these cruel acts to take place!!!!!!!!!! This is disgraceful.

  • marie lemieux says:

    i could not bring myself to watch the the video but just by reading what they are doing to these poor defenseless geese shame on this human race what have we become i hope each and everyone of those who harm an innocent animal gets exactly the same done on to them then lets see if this will continue there is a god and he is watching what we are doing to his world don’t you worry

  • Ray says:

    I pray that the Sadistic Satan tortures these rats-cockroach humans in eternal excruciating pain & boil them alive forever.

  • Sairinna says:

    This is so sickening, people are so selfish!!! We need to make those sick people pay for what they are doing to God’s creatures! Well, on second thought they WILL pay because sick people like that aren’t accepted into Heaven, theyll be cast down to hell!!!

  • Susan Pateracki says:

    When can we make people stop their selfish, greedful ways? I am so sick of humans that have no compassion. I love ducks and geese. If people just took the time to know them. They are such innocent creatures. I believe that the life of these people is over. When they meet their Maker, or not, they will pay for the pain they give. They will feel the pain and fear that they have done to God’s wonderful gifts to us. Until then, we have to stop these people. Lock them up and throw away the key. Make stricter laws. I have no compassion for these types of people. No one has to have a Down blanket. Other material works fine. They tear their feathers out when they are alive.

  • Sharon Klein says:

    The treatment of these chickens is absolutely disgusting and cruel. I will never buy feather pillows or duvetts again. Had no idea that this cruelty was taking place.

  • Michelle Borin says:

    Horrible…never again will I buy goose or duck down items….ever,neither will my children..

  • Traudi Fauner says:

    it’s just cruelty and inhuman. these people should be torne out their hair by the geese.

  • BerylMaher says:

    i will never buy feather pillows or duvetts again i did not know about this terrible cruelty.

  • Danynounours says:

    Le confort d’un oreiller contre la cruauté ! Horrible pratique alors que les animaux sont vivants. Il faut cesser tout cela

  • arlene says:

    These disgusting Humans should be treated the same as how they treat the geese. “do unto others”
    Then again I should not refer to as human – they are barbaric and should suffer for their actions!!!

  • PETA says:

    @maddieandpaulina: Check out PETA Kids: to see what you can do to help animals 🙂

  • maddieandpaulina says:

    hello. we are in the 7th grade and we think that this is very horrible. I would like to help out any way that i can. we are little kids. only 11 😮

  • Jay Carr says:

    outrageous! intolerable! offenders should themselves be plucked after being heavily fined and stripped of their profits from this barbaric practice that shoves ordinary disgusting greed into savagery!

  • Susie Cornwall says:

    I had no idea feathers where removed in this way. It’s totally wrong – why remove them when the bird is still alive. I will never buy anything down again or even use a down pillow etc in a hotel. I don’t know why these people just can’t leave animals alone!

  • Sally Jay says:

    Humans are too cruel

  • Marion says:

    I’m shocked and disgusted. How on earth can we call ourselves Humans??? I’ll never buy down duvets again and I’ll make sure to tell everybody I know why they should boycott it too.

  • Nancy Williaford says:

    I will never anything with down again!!

  • Glenda Pickering says:

    I always buy down duvets etc and have never considered how the down in the duvets was acquired I can not believe that birds are tortured in this way and pledge that in the future I will ensure that my bedding is made from synthetic materials, they are after all just as good and do the job as well if not better than those using down

  • wallace says:

    How can mankind be so bloody cruel, I cant get my head round the barbaric way we treat animals. Makes me so MAD

  • S.Courage says:

    Make it known to everyone everywhere possible that it is time to stop the use of chicken,duck and all feathers and down for human “comfort”. We live in year 2012 and need to get civilized in every action so to become truly human and humane.

  • katie civil says:

    I found that all duvets sold at tk maxx are downs surely they shouldnt sell these

  • gracey says:

    i cant believe please can be so cruel, what is wrong with people

  • Tiffany says:

    This is making me cry so bad. I hate Animal cruelty. Why is this allowed to happen? I will never buy down again EVER!!!!

  • Santi says:

    Kasihan sekali.

  • cushla says:

    Horrid!!! Disgusting treatment,how anyone can be capable of this is just beyond me. This needs to be deemed illegal and quickly.

  • Jessica says:

    This is what humans should feel because we are animals and we should all be treated like a intelligent species because all animals even us are intelligent. Now that I have seen the cruelness in these people’s heart I’ve made fun of their country and see the shame they have done !STOP ANIMAL CRUELTY!

  • molly campbell says:

    How cruel it must be to pluck birds alive with great pain. No creature should suffer pain for unnecessary reasons. Pull your hair out and see how that feels. Stop meanness toward all creatures.

  • Kelly says:

    how about a warning label on these products? Like Cigarettes. Maybe people will realize what they are buying, and STOP!

  • Paula Boyer says:

    I suspected as much. This is just another horrible and cruel way to torture an innocent animal for their coat. In addition to fur and leather campaigns, we should all strongly fight this despicable practice.