You’ve probably owned a down jacket or blanket in your lifetime. However, if you’re like me, you never really thought about what exactly down is or where it comes from.


Down is the soft layer of feathers closest to birds’ skin, mostly in the chest region. Because these feathers do not have quills (the hard, hollow, sharp part at the base of a feather), they are highly valued by manufacturers of down clothing and comforters.


Most down and other feathers are removed from ducks and geese during slaughter. However, birds used for breeding and those raised for meat and foie gras are sometimes plucked repeatedly while they are still ALIVE.


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. Imagine someone holding you down and pulling out your hair! Typically, they are lifted by their necks or delicate wings, their legs are physically held back or tied, and their feathers are ripped right out of their skin. The birds are often plucked so hard that their skin is torn OPEN! Workers are often in a hurry, and 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 every six weeks until the birds are slaughtered for meat. This happens long before they would naturally die.


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.


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, just check the labels! Make the compassionate choice to go down-free now.

Now that you know that down hurts animals, please share this article and help others go down-free, too!

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