How is down obtained?

Typically, ducks and geese are lifted by their necks, their legs tied, and their feathers are ripped out. The struggling birds often sustain injuries during plucking. They are then returned to their cage until they are ready to be plucked again. This process begins when the animals are 8 weeks old and is repeated at eight-week intervals until the birds are slaughtered.

Feathers are often plucked out of ducks and geese raised for food. Those raised for foie gras, especially, suffer terribly. They are force-fed—a funnel is inserted into each bird’s throat, and up to 6 pounds of a salty, fatty corn mash is pumped into the stomach each day—until the bird’s liver has ballooned to four times the normal size.

Synthetic alternatives to down are not only cruelty-free, they are also cheaper and, unlike down, retain their insulating capabilities in all weather conditions. For more information, see PETA’s factsheet on down.

Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you are agreeing to our collection, storage, use, and disclosure of your personal info in accordance with our privacy policy as well as to receiving e-mails from us.

 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind