more at link ...
Feathers are ripped from the bodies of live creatures, leaving them bleeding and in pain. Others are a by-product of the foie gras industry — so cruel it’s been banned in Britain.
The most prized down, and therefore the one that pays the pluckers the most, is hand-stripped from live birds.
Marcus says: 'The men and women from the brigades work without feeling, grabbing terrified geese by their wings or legs, sometimes breaking them, always hurting them, as they tear out the birds’ feathers.
'When it’s over and the birds are bleeding, the wounds are roughly sewn up with a needle and thread without any anaesthetic.
'When their feathers grow back after about five weeks, it happens all over again — and all so you can have a nice winter coat.'
The plucking brigades usually harvest around 150 grams of down per goose — enough to fill an average-sized pillow. Three or four birds are needed to fill a coat.
Even manufacturers who state they don’t use down from live-plucked birds cannot be 100 per cent sure of their claim.
Marcus says: 'Brigades go from farm to farm, stripping the birds as they go, then these feathers are sold to brokers and middlemen who mix live-plucked feathers with those recovered from slaughtered animals, depending on the quality of the mix their customers ask for.
One broker told me it was a bit like the drug trade — you can start off with a high-quality, pure product then you cut it with lower-quality stuff and end up with different products at different prices.
'It’s impossible for manufacturers to be sure their down hasn’t been sourced from birds that were treated cruelly.'