Digg sends me this email every day or so. Interesting stories or something. Today it was about down, they pluck the geese live, hurts like hell. I'm no softy, I shoot animals, we slaughter chickens, but I make an effort to not have animals suffer needlessly.
Supposedly taking the down off the goose alive gives better quality down. Not sure what the deal is. I used to get cheap sleeping bags that said "duck down with some feathers" worked fine. Maybe some lower quality down would be ok. I guess after the birds are slaughtered the down isn't as good. I'd think just a little bit less than perfect would still be ok.
The issue has just begun to be an issue. Patagonia says it's feathers can be traced back to source. Might just be a case of a factory putting on a dog and pony show while the Americans are in town. Most clothing manufacturers were unable to follow the down back past their west coast supplier.