Live plucking is actually forbidden by law in the EU. But some companies found a loophole. Under the synonym «live on it», which is supposed to be a weakened form of plucking, live plucking is still common today. Countries within the EU where geese and ducks are still live plucked include Hungary and Poland. Globally, China is a major producer of down.
In addition to live plucking, there is also the practice of dead picking. Here the down is only removed after the animal has been slaughtered. Since the animal is already dead, it escapes the agony of plucking. From the point of view of animal protection, only dead plucking is justifiable. Consumers who want to be sure that their down products come from dead pup should look for a corresponding down seal of approval. But be careful: Not every seal of quality is really meaningful!
As certain brands still choose to use down in their products, asks them to guarantee that the cruel practices of live plucking and force-feeding will be avoided in the future.
To achieve this, full traceability of the supply chain (from the mother company to the product) with strict safety precautions is essential. Annual, unannounced inspections are required to ensure that the details provided by the farms, slaughterhouses and washing facilities involved in a cruel supply chain are transparent and reliable.
In order to ensure the credibility of animal welfare claims, the vast majority of farms, if not all, must be inspected annually and ideally through unannounced or unannounced inspections. The housing conditions of the animals should be inspected, regardless of whether the animals are healthy, whether they have access to exercise, whether they have adequate flooring, food and water or not.