Thanks to Joanna
Outdoor Brand Patagonia: Down from live feather plucking
FOUR PAWS calls for an immediate ban on trade with down from cruel live feather plucking
Stop Patagonia to use down from live feather plucking: Sign the petition now!
Patagonia likes to present themselves as a responsible company that takes conservation and sustainability very seriously. Seemingly, this sense of responsibility is questionable when it comes to the protection of animals. A company document as well as research carried out by the international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS prove that Patagonia sold down plucked from live animals. The company is hiding behind the ambiguous, term “moult plucking”, at the same time admitting that the geese are plucked up to three times in their life. Undercover research which FOUR PAWS undertook in twelve Hungarian farms reveals the cruel reality behind the vague term “moult plucking”: the campaigners presented shocking footage of the brutal process.
“Regardless whether the birds are in moult or not - the plucking causes severe injuries that in many cases require stitches. The animals become so stressed that they often panic and crush themselves to death in the corners of the barns. After this cruel procedure, many geese are left behind with broken wings, dying”, describes FOUR PAWS feather plucking expert Marcus Mueller. “Moult plucking clearly is an absolutely terrible form of animal torture, we can name dozens of examples. The reason why the down industry is not ready to present any “good” examples of moult plucking is that there are none”, concludes Mueller.
Even though live feather plucking is illegal within the EU, “moult plucking”, is an accepted excuse of the industry to continue the cruel practice, only under a new name. This is comparable to the caging of hens which is still allowed until 2012 if the hens are kept in alibi-cages. FOUR PAWS does not oppose this alone “moult plucking”: Europe’s ten most important producers of goose-meat as well as ten thousands alarmed members of the public call for a general ban of all feathers and down which were taken from live animals.
It is alleged that Patagonia invokes on the down supplier “Allied Feather & Down Corporation”. Therefore, this company in turn will receive their down from the German wholesaler Rohdex. Official documents from US customs authorities prove that the Allied Feather & Down Corporation bought tons of down from Rohdex. Only a few weeks ago, FOUR PAWS researchers were able to film Rohdex purchasing down from exactly the same animals which were filmed being live plucked in Hungary. Even the Rohdex workers commented that these down came from the illegal cruel practice. The Rohdex purchaser was interested to know how it was possible to still live-pluck considering that there has been so much negative publicity around the topic and that all important traders bar live feather plucking.
Stop Patagonia to use down from live feather plucking: Sign the petition now!
As a consequence, FOUR PAWS is calling upon Patagonia to immediately lift all products containing feathers and down taken from live animals from their range and to offer animal-friendly alternatives. There are equally good products such as siliconised hollow fibres available. “It is appalling that a company like Patagonia should use down and feathers from tortured animals”, concludes Mueller.
About Live Feather and Down production
Feathers and down from geese and ducks are used in the clothing and household linen industries, for example in coats and jackets, pillows and duvets. The most valuable product is the down, which is obtained from the breast area, followed by the fine feathers. Most commercial products contain a blend of both down and feathers; the higher the proportion of down, the higher the value of the product.
Feathers and down can be removed after birds have been slaughtered. However, in some countries, feathers are also collected from live birds. Feathers and down collected by live plucking are considered to have a higher value than feathers and down collected after slaughter. Live plucking is more common in geese than in ducks. All breeds of geese can be plucked, but white plumage is more valuable. Geese that are raised for meat or foie gras production, as well as breeder flocks, may be live plucked. The practice of live plucking is common in Eastern Europe and Asia.
Plucking may be performed several times during the bird’s life, with the first plucking usually carried out between 10 and 11 weeks of age when the feathers reach maturity and then approximately every 6 to 7 weeks thereafter, as this is the period necessary for the new feathers to mature. Geese fattened for slaughter are plucked alive either once (if slaughtered at 17 weeks of age), or twice (if slaughtered at 24 weeks of age). The actual number of pluckings for market geese generally depends on the market conditions for the meat or fatty liver and the current market value of the feathers and down.
Geese normally live in small family units and mate for life, living up to 20 years and flying long distances. Under normal conditions, a goose develops its first full coat of feathers at about eight weeks old and will molt (gradually shedding old feathers and growing new ones like all birds) each year.
Stop the cruel “moult plucking”
FOUR PAWS has proof - down and feathers from geese plucked while alive end up in German retail outlets, and therefore in the possession of consumers.
Hundreds of thousands of geese are still brutally plucked while alive across Europe. In Germany, this barbarous process is given the innocent name of “moult plucking”.
But the animals suffer during any live plucking, whether it happens in the moulting period or not. Recent FOUR PAWS research has uncovered the truth behind the allegedly harmless "moult plucking“.
Undercover investigations by FOUR PAWS have shown that products from live geese are purchased by German wholesalers such as Rohdex and Böhmerwald. These companies choose to use the products from live animals, refusing to buy the down from dead animals offered to them.
Panicked geese, bloody wounds
FOUR PAWS investigators spent days watching the so-called "moult plucking“ process on a perfectly normal goose farm in Hungary. The animals are injured by the plucking: many feathers are still strongly attached, resulting in bloody injuries. The pluckers stitch up the wounds immediately. The naked, plucked geese squeeze themselves into corners in a panic or run into the walls blinded by fear.
Will the EU ban live animal plucking?
Join FOUR PAWS in demanding a ban on all forms of live plucking. The names may change, but the animal suffering remains the same. In the next few months the fate of millions of geese will be decided in Brussels. Play a part and demand that the EU implements a total ban on the live plucking of geese.
What can YOU do
There is likelihood that the products made from goose feathers plucked from live birds do end up in the UK. As an ethical consumer it is nearly impossible to find out if the down in duvets, bed wear, adventure wear and jackets comes from a factory that mistreats birds. The only completely secure answer is to avoid down products entirely. There are several synthetic alternatives on the market such as Thinsulate, Fiberfill and Qualofill.
1) Write to companies and ask them to provide answers about the origin of down and feathers, speak with friends and relatives about this problem.
2) Be an ethical consumer and encourage friends and family to follow suit
*** Be an ethical shopper and choose feather-free products and avoid buying any down filled products.
Get in touch with Four Paws if you would like to know more about the campaign and ways you can get involved.
Sign up to receive regular campaign updates: http://www.four-paws.org.uk/website/campaigner
Watch this space for more exposure from Four Paws on this cruel and unethical trade.