Tell Outdoor Gear Companies to End Down-Plucking Torture of Live Geese

  • by: Susan V
  • recipient: North Face, Patagonia, Rab, Allied Feather & Down

Down feathers are sometimes cruelly and painfully plucked from live birds. But consumers and most retailers don’t know which products contain this live-plucked down.

Peta and Four Paws have obtained undercover video footage of workers pulling fistfuls of feathers from geese as the ravished birds shriek with pain. During the torture the geese are often squeezed between pluckers’ knees or sometimes have their necks sat upon. The traumatized, suffering birds are often left with gaping wounds, which many don't survive.

But the horror doesn’t always end after this torment, because many of these tortured birds are further victimized by the foie gras market, and then some go on to be slaughtered or dumped into scalding water - also while still alive.

Most upsetting is that none of this cruelty is necessary. Imitation materials that mimic down are warmer and washable and now available, and outdoor gear company Coleman says it has already made the switch.

More important, the Biomimicry Institute is working to design a nontoxic alternative to natural down, and the outdoor gear companies could pool their resources to fund this project.

Tell The North Face, Patagonia and Rab to support non-toxic alternatives to down and stop supporting this cruelty!

We, the undersigned, see no excuse for this torturous live plucking of geese to continue or for outdoor gear manufacturers, clothing designers or retailers to support the use of any natural down.

Peta explains that the new synthetic material mimics the feel of down and is even warmer, washable and water-proof, making it superior to natural down, which is not even practical for damp climates.

Furthermore a poll conducted by Peta shows that most outdoor enthusiasts are very willing to make the switch, and the Coleman Company has pledged to do so as well.

Reporting to the Daily Mail, Four Paws explains that even though the North Face and Patagonia claimed their feathers did not come from live-plucked birds, an investigation found that was not true - that their supplier, US-based Allied Feather & Down, had passed on incorrect information. Even though Patagonia says it is trying to do the right thing, it’s nearly impossible to know the source of the down because birds move from farm to farm, and their down goes through several processors before reaching manufacturers, and sometimes those that are live-plucked get mixed with others.

Four Paws spokesman said Hungary is the largest supplier of down sold in the UK, and the Hungarian “plucking brigades” are the most brutal.

Daily Mail investigator Steve Boggan said he could find only one company that could be certain its products didn’t contain live-plucked down, and that was Marks & Spencer.

However, since it is so difficult to know the source of down purchased from suppliers, it makes more sense all around to discontinue the use of natural down altogether as Coleman has done. It’s the only way to be certain that the cruel plucking brigades will end.

We request that The North End, Patagonia and Rab switch to imitation down and also choose eco-friendly sources of synthetic down as well.

Thanks for your time.

Please watch the video linked below for more info:

Update #310 years ago
Patagonia's website now promises that all its Ultralight Down products are made with down from white geese that were neither force-fed nor live-plucked. It says the company is working on making this true for all its down products by Fall 2014. You can read about their plans for yourself here:
Update #210 years ago
The Biomimicry Institute is working to develop a non-toxic alternative to natural down. Perhaps the outdoor gear companies and others who are unable to ensure that down is obtained cruelty-free could help fund this important work.
Update #110 years ago
In 2010, North Face and Patagonia reportedly admitted that some down used in their products was from cruelly treated geese. In 2012, North Face pledged to find a source of down that was not the product of force-feeding. Now North Face reports on its website that it’s been working on a “Responsible Down Standard,” which it says will be completed in 2014. Keep the pressure on North Face and other billion-dollar industries to end this torture now - not later!
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