Not Force-Fed, Not Live-Harvested, Not Live-Plucked
The use of goose down for consumer products is not without its controversy. Animal rights groups have sensitized many of us to some of the inhumane practices associated with this industry. Live-plucking is one of them, where down is pulled from live birds. This is said to feel like having your hair pulled out.
Force-feeding geese to produce fatty livers, or foie gras, is another controversial practice, in which a tube is inserted in a goose’s throat to fill the goose with food and fatten its liver. Force-feeding is allowed in Hungary, where we get our gray goose down, and in France, the major market for foie gras. But in many European countries it is banned.
Our white goose down comes from Poland, where geese are raised primarily for their meat. It’s against the law in Poland to force-feed poultry, and it’s against the law in all European Union countries to live-pluck birds. Regulations do, however, permit “live-harvesting” of down in Poland, which means down can be removed when geese are molting. Live-harvesting is purportedly not painful for geese. That said, many slaughterhouses, including the ones we use, require their goose suppliers to sign contracts prohibiting them from live-harvesting down.
The white goose down we use in Patagonia products comes from birds that are not force-fed, not live-harvested and not live-plucked. It is taken only after white geese are slaughtered for their meat.