Breaking Exposé: Geese Beheaded for Down on Russian Farms

Breaking Exposé: Geese Beheaded for Down on Russian Farms

Footage Prompts Appeal to Penny Mordaunt to Ban Russian Down Imports

London – In light of a new PETA exposé revealing that fully conscious geese were beheaded with dull axes in Russia for down certified by the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) – in violation of RDS guidelines – today, PETA sent a letter to Minister of State for Trade Policy Penny Mordaunt urging her to ban imports of Russian down.

The RDS requires that “waterfowl shall be stunned then killed before they can regain consciousness”, yet, as veterinarian Dr Heather Rally observes in an expert statement, geese were “suspended and restrained by the wings and [had] their necks mutilated with several blows from an apparently dull axe in a crude attempt to decapitate them all while fully conscious”. The footage reveals birds continuing to move their legs and wings over five minutes after being beheaded. 

“There is no way to be sure that jackets sold in the UK don’t contain feathers from birds tortured on Russian farms,” says PETA Vice President Mimi Bekhechi. “PETA is calling on Minister Mordaunt to protect both consumers and animals by banning these cruel and misleading imports.”

A representative with a Russian RDS-certified down broker took PETA Asia’s investigators to the site where the footage is sourced, explaining that auditors “don’t ask … how the birds are raised”. He and another down supplier confirmed that all down bought from that particular region, Novosibirsk, is RDS-certified. This is because entire geographic regions, called “farm areas” by the RDS Certification Procedures, can be certified by auditing just a sample of farms and slaughter sites – meaning that the certification body may not know what is happening on most of the farms in a region.

Broadcast-quality footage is available for download here, and photographs are available here.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit or follow the group on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


Sascha Camilli +44 (0) 20 7837 6327; [email protected]