Plucking of feather and down from live geese


James Nicholson (ECR) 

Key Words : enforcement of the legislation

3 October 2013



The plucking of feathers from live geese is forbidden by EU legislation on animal welfare. As Member States are primarily responsible for the implementation of EU welfare legislation, a number of concerns have been raised by constituents of mine who fear that this legislation is not being properly implemented. With this in mind, can the Commission clarify:

a. the nature and level of engagement with each Member State to monitor implementation of this legislation over the last five years;
b. the extent to which it is satisfied with the enforcement of the legislation regarding the plucking of feathers and down from live geese;
c. the number of breaches identified in each Member State over the last five years; and 
d. the action taken once breaches of EU legislation on animal welfare with regard to the plucking of feathers from live geese have been identified.

Answer : 

21 November 2013

Answer given by Mr Borg on behalf of the Commission

Following the opinion(1) published by the European Food Safety Authority in 2010 on the practice of harvesting feathers from live geese, some monitoring and discussions occurred in 2011. According to the European Down and Feather Association 98% of the down and feathers processed by their industry are collected after the slaughter of birds. Very few Member States harvest feathers, i.e. remove feathers that are ripe due to the natural phenomenon of moulting. This practice is not illegal.

With regard to the number of breaches identified and possible action taken the Commission would refer the Honourable Member to its answer to Written Question E-9501/2013(2).