Stop Using Down Feathers from Tortured Birds

Close up of down feather by michellebflickr

Target: R. Gil Kerlikowski, Commissioner in U.S. Customs

Goal: Save ducks and geese from live plucking and other cruel practices in the down feather industry.

Millions of ducks and geese are tortured in the name of warmth every year. Products, including bedding and clothing, are frequently thought of as warmer and more luxurious if they contain real down feathers. Unfortunately, down items are potentially not as warm as more modern materials and are typically obtained using excessively cruel methods. Speak up now to protect these suffering birds.

In China, where 80 percent of the down used in America originates, ducks and geese are typically plucked alive. This process involves grabbing both the upper feathers and soft down under layers in clumps and yanking them from birds that are alert and alive. This feels just as it would to pull clumps of hair from your head. Live plucking also frequently opens gaping wounds, which are stitched up while the bird is still fully alert and screaming with pain.

Down producers favor the live plucking method as they can obtain up to five ounces of feathers from each bird every six weeks until the birds are four years old. At this point, these birds, who’ve known only horror and pain, are sent to the slaughter house.

Less often, down is obtained after birds who’ve been horribly abused by the foie gras industry are slaughtered. The one humane option is almost never used, as it would take too long to simply gather molted down. It takes feathers from more than 75 birds to make one comforter.

With the availability of warmer, cruelty free, materials, there is no need to make these birds suffer. Demand the end of the importation of down feathers from tortured birds.


Dear Commissioner Kerlikowski,

The textile industry in the U.S. is victimizing millions of ducks and geese each year. By convincing consumers that down products are warmer and more luxurious than modern, ethically obtained materials, the industry ensures these animals will be cruelly plucked alive nearly 35 times before the age of four.

Live plucking itself is immensely painful and also causes gaping wounds to open. These wounds are stitched together while the bird is still fully alert and screaming in agony. Approximately 80 percent of the down used in the U.S. is imported from China. The remaining 20 percent is imported from other regions. Virtually, no down feathers are from farms in the U.S. Shutting down the flow of duck and goose down from countries who torture the birds will cripple the use of down in textiles and force suppliers to end their torturous practices. We demand that the U.S. stop accepting down imports from China and any other countries where it is obtained through cruel means.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: michellebflickr

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  1. Cecily Colloby says:

    China again, of course!!! They just LOVE to torture everything-what the hell is wrong with them???

  2. Natasha polychuk Natasha polychuk says:

    china is demented!!!!!!why do they hate………….

  3. marian tebb says:

    Boycott down and feather products!

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