The down industry often plucks geese alive in order to get their down— the soft layer of feathers closest to a bird’s skin.
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. When these birds are slaughtered, they often have their throats cut or are dumped into tanks of scalding-hot water while they’re still conscious.