PETA: Geese Routinely Plucked Alive for Down
Practice happens on Chinese farms
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2016 8:30 AM CDT
These free-range Christmas geese live in southern Germany.   (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

(Newser) – The goose down used in bedding often is a byproduct of the food industry, with the feathers collected after an animal has been slaughtered. However, a PETA investigation finds the practice of plucking feathers from the bodies of live birds is still prevalent, CBS Money Watch reports. PETA workers last fall visited 11 farms in China, producer of about 80% of the world's down, only to discover that live-plucking, thought to be on its way out, is "still something openly done." Footage recorded by PETA shows, according to a press release, "employees on goose farms pulling fistfuls of feathers out of live birds, often causing bloody wounds as the animals shriek in terror." (See the graphic video here.) PETA tells Money Watch that the group's findings serve as evidence that retailers such as Land's End, Eddie Bauer, and Hollander Home Fashions unintentionally use live-plucked down.

All of those companies maintain that they had previously taken steps to remove live-plucked down from their supply chains, although Eddie Bauer and Hollander tell Money Watch they are "taking additional steps to address the issue." Hollander, Down Décor, and Allied Feather & Down dismissed claims by PETA that recorded phone calls show a link between the Chinese farms and intermediaries that supply those companies with down. "We applaud PETA's work," a Down Décor rep says, adding that the investigation "addresses a practice that we, and every brand in the USA that we work with, abhor." Ultimately, PETA says it wants people to stop using geese for food and other products. "PETA appreciates that companies attempt to reduce harms to animals," a rep says, "but there's no way to eliminate suffering when animals are used as a commodity." (PETA got it wrong with plans to protest a "Greased Pig in Ice.")