For seven months, between November 2021 and May 2022, PETA Asia investigators visited duck farms and slaughterhouses in Vietnam connected to companies that sell “responsible” down, including and dozens of others, exposing unspeakable cruelty to ducks.
The disturbing cruelty they uncovered shows why even so-called “responsible” down is never ethical or humane.
Downed Ducks on Down Farms
At the farms visited by the PETA Asia investigators, ducks were crammed into filthy sheds and forced to live on wire flooring or confined to dirt lots strewn with faeces. They were denied any opportunity to engage in their most natural and important behaviour, such as bathing, swimming, flying, or foraging. Some were gasping, which is often a sign of stress, overheating, or respiratory infection. suffered from gaping, bloody wounds. Many had difficulty walking or were unable to stand up at all, possibly a result of severe infections or fractured legs. A worker grabbed one immobile duck by the neck and tossed her aside. Dying birds were left to suffer, and the bodies of those who had died were often left in full view of the others.
Birds Stabbed in the Neck While Still Conscious
Inside a duck slaughterhouse, investigators filmed a worker violently grabbing birds and hanging them in shackles upside down. The worker stepped on ducks, apparently to pin them down so they could be restrained and then shackled.
Shackled birds were dragged through an electrified water bath that paralysed them but didn’t render them unconscious. A worker then stabbed them in the neck with a knife and left them hanging and bleeding out. Many of the birds continued to move for more than a minute afterwards.
Live Ducks Hacked Up
Ducks were also killed inside people’s homes in a village where a broker collected their feathers. Workers made no attempt to stun the birds before tying their legs together, hanging them upside down, stabbing them through the neck, throwing them on the ground, and cutting off their legs. Investigators didn’t see anyone check for signs of consciousness before the birds were dismembered. Many of them kept moving throughout the entire ordeal.
Suffering Is the ‘Standard’
The Responsible Down Standard (RDS) claims to “ensure that down and feathers do not come from supply chains where animals have been subjected to any unnecessary harm”. But every farm and slaughter facility visited by PETA Asia investigators sells down to RDS–certified suppliers. And their findings tell a very different story.
One slaughterhouse owner who confirmed that her business was RDS–certified admitted that it is actually only audited every two years, despite the supposed RDS requirement for annual audits. She added that her employees never check for signs of consciousness before stabbing ducks in the neck and slaughtering them.
Ducks Are Individuals, Not Down-Producing Machines
Social and outgoing, ducks are happiest when they’re with their “paddling”, a close-knit group of family members and friends. They swim and fly together in formation and even have regional accents. These birds feel fear and pain just as acutely as humans do and share the same desire to live their lives free of suffering. They need their feathers – we don’t.
With ‘Humane’ Labelling, It’s the Same Old Story
This is the eighth exposé of the down industry that PETA entities have released. And it’s the eighth time pervasive, egregious cruelty has been uncovered.
PETA Asia’s recently released findings from RDS–certified goose farms in Russia, which exports down to countries around the world, shows a worker stretching geese’s necks across a stump and repeatedly hacking at them with a dull axe as the birds shriek and struggle. Although the RDS stipulates that “waterfowl shall be stunned then killed before they can regain consciousness”, investigators witnessed the animals’ slaughter with no prior stunning. Birds’ wings and feet were still moving more than five minutes after they had been decapitated.
Companies like GAP Inc, Guess, and H&M were all identified as recipients of down from the RDS–certified suppliers investigated by PETA Asia, and it has been confirmed that all these companies obtain feathers from Vietnam.
Please use the form below to urge these companies to spare ducks a lifetime of suffering and a violent death by ending their use of down feathers without delay.