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Cruelty in the Down Industry

goose down
Geese are the victims of animal cruelty in the down industry.

When I was a kid, a down comforter was just a given in our house. Down is cozy. It’s soft. It’s like sleeping under a cloud, isn’t it? You might not rest so comfortably knowing how those feathers get from the bird to your bed.

Helena over at Chic Vegan shared a video about the animal cruelty in the down industry. I do want to caution you: this video is a little bit graphic.

In case you couldn’t bring yourself to watch, the video exposes the truth behind those cozy pillows, comforters, and down jackets. Workers remove the feathers from these birds while they are still alive. It’s painful and cruel, and the animals are clearly terrified.

When tearing out handfuls of feathers causes lacerations on the birds, they’re sewn closed with a needle and thread without any medication to numb the pain. Down production also supports factory farming, which is not only cruel but dangerous from a public health standpoint. Animals living in confinement are more prone to disease.

A Down Alternative

Luckily, you don’t have to support the brutal down industry to have a cozy bed or a comfy jacket. When you’re out shopping, you can easily opt out of the system of animal cruelty by choosing products that are down free – there are plenty!

I found a really great down-free comforter at Gaiam. Instead of feathers, it uses “the silky fibers of the kapok seed,” a plant that’s sustainably grown, to stuff the comforter and make it just as cozy as down without the cruelty. It’s even covered with organic cotton! Down, schmown, I say!

Image Credit: Goose Down photo via Shutterstock

Written by Becky Striepe

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .

5 Comments

  1. Sadly cruelty like this is found in almost every factory that has something to do with animals. I remember my grandparents had down pillows when I was a kid, and whenever I went to visit them they were the most comfortable thing ever. The big difference, was that they got the pillows from one of their friends who actually ate the geese so they weren’t tortured. They lived nice lives on an open ranch until they were mature enough to eat. Personally, I only eat eggs that are free-range and cage free. Same with any meats that I eat. It’s just plain depressing and I’m glad that there’s a non-cruel alternative that’s being posted about. I really hope word catches so that more people can become aware of this and change their ways too.

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