As if it weren’t bad enough for outerwear company Canada Goose to use fur trim from coyotes caught in steel traps and shot or bludgeoned to death, a PETA eyewitness exposé of a farm that has supplied Canada Goose with down, James Valley Colony Farms (JVC), reveals that workers rounded up panicked geese, grabbing and carrying them by the neck, and crammed them into densely packed cages for transport to slaughter. Some geese were left in the feces-covered crates for up to 24 hours without food or water, including during a trip down the highway to the slaughterhouse lasting over five hours.
Although Canada Goose insists that it was no longer using this farm to source its feathers at the time of PETA’s investigation, the company showcased JVC’s claims of “tender loving care” of geese in a video on its own “down traceability” webpage as well as on YouTube and didn’t remove footage of JVC from its promotional materials until 2019—long after the investigation. But regardless of which feathers came from where, there’s absolutely no such thing as ethical down, despite Canada Goose’s claims—birds used by the industry are all slaughtered in violent ways. The company tells customers that it’s “deeply committed” to the “ethical sourcing of all animal materials”—but this is misleading at best, because all down comes from sensitive birds who didn’t want to be killed.
See for yourself what really happens to birds exploited for their down, and help stop this cruelty.
Gasping for Air and Shrieking in Distress
To make it faster to round up the geese for transport to slaughter, they were herded into small wire pens, where they visibly panicked and trampled each other. Geese on the bottom of the pile were crushed. At least one died, and a worker tossed the dead bird over the fence.
These distressed geese are climbing on top of each other in panic and fear, and some even suffocate.
Grabbed and Carried by the NeckAfter the geese were confined to the pens, workers started grabbing them by the neck—often two in each hand—and hauling them to transport crates, as they shrieked and flapped their wings in distress. One worker repeatedly stepped on geese while reaching for other ones. Then they were crammed into the crates with such force that the cages can be heard clanging in the video.
Confined to Cramped Cages for Up to 24 HoursThe cages were so small that the birds were unable to hold their heads up even while sitting. A veterinarian who viewed the footage said, “Being confined to these small crates for prolonged periods would cause painful muscle cramping, unnecessary stress, and predispose anxious birds to injury.” After a trip down the highway to the slaughterhouse lasting over five hours, some geese were left in the feces-covered crates for up to 24 hours without food or water.
Watching in Terror as Others Are Shackled and KilledJVC sent geese to Schiltz Foods in South Dakota—the largest goose slaughterhouse in North America—a grueling five- to six-hour journey, often in frigid temperatures. Once they had been unloaded for slaughter, the geese watched, terrified, as other frightened birds were again grabbed by the neck, stunned, shackled upside down by the legs, and killed right in front of them when workers cut their throats. Then it was their turn. A PETA observer saw that some birds continued flapping their wings and moving their heads as they bled out. A veterinarian who watched the video footage believes these birds “are showing signs of consciousness and sensibility”—meaning that the birds were awake as they choked, suffocated, or died of blood loss or shock, “an extremely painful and anxiety provoking condition.”
Why Do They Have 'Red Elbows'?A PETA observer documented that about half of the birds from JVC had bruises on their wings—or even broken bones or dislocated joints—when they were being butchered. When the observer asked why the birds had “red elbows,” a supervisor at the slaughterhouse responded, “from putting them in the cages.”
What You Can Do to HelpEvery purchase of a Canada Goose down-filled jacket or any down-filled product supports violence against animals. The best way to help geese suffering right now is not to buy anything containing down. Canada Goose could easily ditch down today—urge the company to do just that!
PETA filed a complaint with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission alleging that Canada Goose was deceiving customers regarding the welfare of geese whose down was used in its products. Following the FTC’s investigation, Canada Goose no longer claims that its standards ensure that suppliers don’t abuse animals. Nonetheless, the company continues to mislead consumers by hiding the inherent cruelty involved in killing animals for coats. If you feel that you were misled into purchasing a Canada Goose product by the company’s claims of “[e]thically sourced down and fur” and “humane treatment” of animals used for its coats, please e-mail us your story at [email protected].
Take Action Now
Please urge Canada Goose to stop selling down immediately, and let the company know that you won’t buy any of its products until it does so. With so many humane, warm materials available today, including PrimaLoft, Thinsulate, ThermoBall, and Plumtech, there’s no excuse for using down.