Oh beloved and dearest, friendly ducks! We all love your jibber jabbering and our treasured followers and supporters always enjoy seeing photos of our fine, friendly, feathered friends. Simple, honest and pensive creatures. The muses of many a philosopher’s inspired or witty writings. The star character of Leunig cartoons and poems.

Yes, truly we do love the earnest, innocent happiness of a duck!

And yet……

Winter winds are settling in. We all seek warmth and cosiness.

Our need for warm outer garments and bedding has long been the cause of some of the most horrendous suffering on the planet for animals whose fur we covet.

Here in Australia, we do not have the cold temperatures that tempt people to purchase a fur coat and its use is generally limited to high end, vanity brands. There are several products however, that sell each year in tens of thousands of units, products that bring on the abject horror of repeated agonising ordeals for our dear feathered friends – our lovely ducks and geese.

These familiar products are made from down. Goose down, duck down, white, fluffy and soft. Available in quilts as box stitched stuffing, the advertisements blast across our devices every late autumn, enticing us to purchase this ‘luxury’ at bargain prices. There are also thinly padded jackets and other puffer coats filled with down, as well as pillows and comforters. Again and again, we are told how warm down is.

Warm indeed, for nature created it to keep our dear little web-footed waddlers cosy, safe and waterproof in the water.

Down is the softest, inner most feathers on the entire chest area of ducks and geese. Extending through to their under carriage, down is the closest layer of feathers to the skin. Three dimensional clusters of thousands of tiny fibres, down is highly insulating for the area of the duck’s body that is always in the water. It is highly prized because it has no quills and therefore will not beak through the fabric that encapsulates it.

Everyone has always wrongly assumed that all ducks and geese are plucked of this soft down after slaughter. But consumers use more down than there are ducks sold to the meat trade. Therefore, thousands of ducks and geese are farmed for the sole purpose of having their innermost feathers ripped from them, fully conscious, held down on someone’s lap and with their feet bound together to prevent them kicking out as they experience this horrific agony. The workers tear out handfuls of down, roughly, unfeelingly, and our poor friends join the burgeoning number of animals tortured for human profit.

Mutilated and traumatised, they huddle together, trembling and in agony. No anaesthesia, no pain killers. They are then left to regrow their feathers. Once their down has regrown, the whole appalling process will commence again. At least six times in their lives before they are finally killed. It is not uncommon for some of these dear little creatures to pass away from the extremely shocking and horrifying experience.

Theirs is a life of fearful suffering and anguished misery.

Our beautiful friends Jemima and Quacky Chan, living safely at Freedom Hill Sanctuary, join us in urging you and your family to stop purchasing any feather & down filled products, particularly quilts and comforters.

There are so many wonderful new technologies in the textile industry with high performance fabrics that trap body heat and guarantee warmth. All without buying into and supporting manufacturers dirty secret – those millions of tiny, white feathers are stained in the blood of another before they are washed of the truth.

Please share these stories with friends and in your social groups to educate others about a product that no one should be purchasing.

We encourage you to promote cruelty free winter bedding amongst your loved ones. Please help us to educate others about this extremely painful and wicked practice exercised upon ducks and geese.

It is torture of the very worst expression.

As Leunig wrote: “You must look into the eyes of a duck”.

This week we will be looking into the eyes of our very beautiful duck family and sharing with you their wonderful, joyful hearts.

May all ducks and geese be free from this anguish forever as we turn our backs on the products of cruelty.

May you all be as happy as a person would be, who holds a duck in one arm and the “teapot of truth” in the other.

Help Us Walk The Gentle Way.


Support our mission

Our mission at Freedom Hill Sanctuary is to provide a safe haven for animals that have been rescued from abuse, exploitation or neglect. We also aim to change the way people view farmed animals and promote, educate and encourage compassionate cruelty-free living.

Freedom Hill is a registered not for profit organisation that runs solely on your generous donations, all donations are used in the long term care of all our animal residents.

Freedom Hill is a registered tax-deductible charity. License No CCP2966

Thank you for your support.