Animal Charity

Tackling the Down Industry

The cruelty behind down feathers 


For our next Wear it Kind topic, we are talking about the suffering involved in the production of down feathers. This is an issue Four Paws UK has worked on for many years. We had some great success with our 40 Lives campaign, where several brands committed to the Responsible Down Standard.

Every year, millions of geese and ducks suffer brutal treatment to supply down feathers. This material is used as a thermal insulator in duvets and pillows, as well as in coats and other clothing designed to keep us warm. The scale of this industry is immense – the down feathers from at least 75 animals are needed to make just one duvet for a single bed.

Often, the ducks and geese used for their down feathers endure ‘live-plucking’, where the feathers closest to their skin are painfully torn off. This often results in the bleeding and tearing of the skin, causing birds a considerable amount of pain and distress. Some birds can even die after due to stress.

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How Can You Help? 

Thankfully, there are many down alternatives on the market that are also sustainable and environmentally friendly. Materials such as recycled polyester are made from recycled water bottles, and do not contain animal products. Find sustainable fashion options here.

Take Action Today

The production of down feathers is another reason we need more compassion in fashion. Every purchase we make is a chance to wear our values, and to stand up for the animals that are used in cruel practices such as live plucking for down feathers. Please help us work towards an animal-friendly fashion future!

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Jenny Canham

Campaigns Officer

Jenny works in the Campaigns Team at FOUR PAWS UK, and manages the UK farmed animal campaigns Make Food Kinder and Wear it Kind. She has a background in journalism, and has worked across various animal non-profits and grassroots advocacy organisations in the UK and internationally.

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