On 1st February 2009 the Swedish documentary programme "Cold Facts" was aired on TV4, and has reignighted the debate on live plucking. The imagery is shocking and has prompted a response to the documentary by the World Society for the Protection of Animals, with this press release.
Because of this we have been asked to amend a quote from Dr Mike Appleby, to reflect the societies current view on this issue that we had posted in our previous article. If you want to see the film you will need to get to it from a Swedish URL, as the TV4 website doesnt like people from the UK viewing their stuff, or a direct link.
Having now only seen parts of the film, due to patchy streaming and not really understanding the commentary. I still think I got the main gist of it, which is live plucking is still going on. What i dont know is what was said so i can only go from the various reports and press releases. These seem to indicate that a high percentage of down around the world is live plucked, although this is being refuted by various down organisations, they would say that, as they are set up for the benefit of the down producers not for the geese. I guess the first thing to say is that contrary to previous evidence live plucking looks pretty gruesome. Although we knew it wasn't a good thing, we didn't have much evidence to say it was a terrible thing. Now we do.
So the real issue that this documentary brought up was the prevalence of down plucking. The quoted statistic was 80-90%. But we dont know the evidence to support this claim. When we did our research last year we were satisfied that the likely hood that our down came from live plucked birds, was minimal. This programme now casts doubt on this. So we will now have to be a little more proactive. I have already asked our suppliers to sign a statement as to the provenance of the down, and we will be more questioning when we next go to China. We will certainly do everything we can over the next few weeks to find out more.
Some links for further reading: