ETHICAL DOWN


DOWNMARK® is committed to supporting sustainable down initiatives, including the ethical treatment of birds and humane down harvesting practices.

All DOWNMARK® certified products and active members must meet our strict requirements. You can be assured that your down and feather product has been manufactured using only sustainable down.

Common questions about the harvesting of down and feather:

HOW ARE DOWN AND FEATHERS OBTAINED?

Down and feathers are normally obtained from goose and duck farms as a by-product of the poultry industry. Birds are not raised for their down but rather for their meat - just like leather is a by-product of the beef industry. 

Modern farms ensure their birds are raised in good conditions because the quality of the meat is significantly better and commands better prices.

 EIDERDOWN COMES FROM THE EIDER DUCK. IT’S COLLECTED BY HAND FROM THE NESTS WITHOUT DISTURBING THE EGGS OF THE BIRDS.

EIDERDOWN COMES FROM THE EIDER DUCK. IT’S COLLECTED BY HAND FROM THE NESTS WITHOUT DISTURBING THE EGGS OF THE BIRDS.

WHAT IS LIVE PLUCKING?

Live plucking is an outdated practice where the down and feathers of geese is pulled off their body while the bird is still alive. This method is cruel and causes the bird great distress and physical trauma. (ducks are never live plucked)

A long time ago, live plucking was used on primitive, small farms in order to maximize everything the farm could generate. It still occasionally happens in isolated areas where small farms have been passed down through generations and they are uninformed of modern animal husbandry.

Modern farms never do this as:

  1. Live plucking hurts the birds and often makes them unsuitable for the table. Over 90% of the value of a bird is the meat so it makes no sense.

  2. It is very expensive as it must be done by hand. Modern methods involve high speed machine plucking after the bird has been dispatched.

  3. Years ago there was a myth that live plucked down is higher quality. It isn’t! Given that it costs more and there is no demand, this practice has virtually disappeared.

WHAT IS FOIE GRAS DOWN?

Ducks account for 95% of foie gras production, so it is almost impossible to find goose down from this industry. The overfeeding of these birds causes them to grow a very low grade of down which is easily identified and rejected by quality down processors. It is never found in a DOWNMARK certified product.

DOES DOWNMARK® SUPPORT HUMANE DOWN HARVESTING?

Absolutely! We are strong advocates for the sustainable and ethical treatment of geese and ducks, and actively support humane harvesting practices. Live pluck and foie gras down is forbidden under DOWNMARK®certification.