In the EU there is a ban on live feather plucking, but this doesn't keep companies from using down from live plucking. The biggest producers are Poland, Hungary, and China, who produce thousands of tons. In 2008 FOUR PAWS filmed this cruel practice on 3 farms in Hungary. The pictures show geese in appalling conditions. In this case the birds were even tortured with 3 weeks of force feeding for foie gras after the live feather plucking.
Meat geese are feather plucked 3 – 4 times in their lives and one time after their death.
The picking is done by so called ‘feather brigades’, groups of up to 20 persons travelling around and working on a contract basis. They are paid per plucked animal and so they try to do as many animals in as short a time as possible.
Live plucking is extremely painful and traumatic for the birds and leaves them unprotected from the cold.
Birds panic so much that they can strangle themselves as they get caught up in fences.
Plucking can rip the skin and wounds are sewn up without sedation or pain relief.
Please don't buy down products or ornamental feathers, for more info on live plucking and abusive practices on roosters and ostriches for feathers, please see the link....