Given that there is no magical factory in the sky that makes feather and down — the fluffy, insulating undercoating of quill-less feathers located underneath the tougher outer layer of feathers belonging to ducks,Canada Goose moins cher geese and other waterfowl — it’s most likely that the heavenly filling in your comforter and in those pillows was directly plucked from a real, live (well, ideally not live) bird. Yes, grisly to think about but it seems that even the many ardent animal rights activists who wouldn’t be caught dead eating or wearing a dead animal have no problem with sleeping amongst their plumage.

Here’s the thing: The feathers and down found in most, but not all, bedding and clothing is a by-product of dearly departed waterfowl that have been slaughtered for food purposes. The plucking of live birds, while once commonplace, is now said to be more of a rare occurrence and has been outlawed in the United States and in several European countries. Still, the practice of live-plucking ducks and geese does reportedly live on at factory farms in countries such as China,Canada Goose moins cher Poland and in feather powerhouse Hungary, where PETA estimates that 50 percent of down and 40 to 45 percent of feathers have been live-plucked by experienced “rippers” who are paid piece-rate. So to answer your question, yes, animals have been killed in the creation of your new comforter and pillows although it’s tough to say whether they were methodically harmed in a rather painful and cruel manner (I’ll spare you the gory details) before eventually being slaughtered for food.

In addition to PETA‘s Hungarian, ahem, crackdown, a Swedish news program called “Kalla Fakta” (“Cold Facts”) ran a two-part expose on the down harvesting industry in 2009. The documentary claimed that 50 to 80 percent of the world’s down market comes from live-plucked birds, a much higher figure than broadcast by the global feather and down industry. Naturally, the feather and down industries in several countries including China freaked out,Canada Goose moins cher claiming that live plucking was a rarity and that the 50 to 80 percent figure was simply not true. The China Feather and Down Industrial Association claimed that a mere 1 to 3 percent of the country’s feathers came from live birds while the European Down and Feather Association claimed estimated live-pluck rates to be around 2 percent.