Force-Fed, 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, whereby down is pulled from live birds. This is said to feel like having your hair pulled out. Force-feeding geese to produce fatty liver, or foie gras, is another controversial practice, in which a tube is inserted down a goose’s throat to fill the goose with food and fatten its liver.
Force-feeding is allowed and prevalent in Hungary, where we get our gray goose down. The same is true of France, the biggest market for foie gras. But in many European countries it is banned. Live-plucking is against the law in all European Union countries, though regulations do permit “live-harvesting,” which means removing down from birds when they are molting. Live-harvesting is purportedly not painful for geese.
We don’t buy down harvested from live birds. All of our down comes from slaughterhouses. The geese that supply us are force-fed, but they are not live-harvested or live-plucked. After geese are killed for their meat and fatty livers, their down and feathers are collected and sold to a processor. The material goes through a series of cleaning and sorting processes and is tested for quality before we use it in our products.