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FOUR PAWS applauds ALLIED Feather and Down


Company becomes the first major down supplier to reach the milestone of 100% cruelty-free down

 

BOSTON, MA – FEBRUARY 27, 2017  - ALLIED Feather and Down, a leading global supplier of down feathers for the outdoor, sport, and apparel industries, has become the first major down supplier to exclusively sell fully audited down that is free from live feather plucking and force-feeding of geese and ducks, thereby becoming the only major supplier to reach the milestone of 100% cruelty-free down.

 

ALLIED  Feather and Down and another major supplier, Downlite, were the first industry drivers that helped brands like The North Face and Patagonia make full supply chain traceability and animal welfare a reality. With this new 100% milestone, ALLIED  has gone yet another step further than any other major supplier by exclusively selling down that is audited under the strictest full supply chain traceability and animal welfare standards.

 

“Most major suppliers that sell fully certified cruelty-free down also supply uncertified down at the same time; some suppliers even knowingly sell down from the foie gras industry alongside cruelty-free down,” stated Melanie Lary, Campaigns Officer for FOUR PAWS International - U.S. office. “ALLIED has shown true leadership and has proven that regardless of a suppliers’ size, if they want to be cruelty-free they can. We call on all suppliers to follow ALLIED’s example and fully exclude down feathers from force-fed or live-plucked animals from their supply.”

 

In the down industry, live-plucking and force-feeding are, sadly, still prevalent practices, causing extreme suffering to geese and ducks. Geese and ducks on farms may be plucked of their feathers several times in their lives without anesthesia or medical care. Parent or breeding animals used solely for the production of offspring are especially prone to live plucking and can experience this up to 16 times in their lives. The practice of “force-feeding” is just as it sounds, a long tub that is shoved into the animal’s esophagus which pumps food straight to the stomach. The aim of this practice is intense weight gain for the “delicacy” of foie gras (fatty liver).

 

“While many brands that use down state that they do not accept down from live-plucked or force-fed animals, unless the animals are actually audited and the full down supply chain is traced and certified, the evidence to back these claims is often missing or incomprehensive. This is where full supply chain traceability standards are vital for brands that want to avoid cruelty.” said Ms. Lary.

 

ALLIED President Daniel Uretsky added, “For 30 years, ALLIED has been changing the way down is sourced in the industry. Working directly with farms to establish close relationships has allowed us to provide complete traceability, consistency, and quality to our partners. In working with animal welfare organizations such as FOUR PAWS in an open and transparent dialogue, we are able to continue to rethink what ‘best practices’ means  and this gives  us more opportunities to ensure all aspects of animal welfare are considered. ALLIED has always been 100% committed to stepping in wherever needed in the supply chain to make the requisite changes to continue to move the entire industry forward, ultimately providing more assurance to consumers that their down jacket, sleeping bag, comforter, or pillow has been made with one of the most responsible ingredients - both for the animals and the planet.”

 

FOUR PAWS has been addressing the cruelty that geese and ducks face in the down industry for nearly a decade and decided to engage with industry players so that, as long as they use down, they make sure that the animals in their supply chains are spared of live-plucking and force-feeding to the best possible extent. The organization has gained immense knowledge regarding the traceability of feathers and down and has used this information to advocate for best practice traceability requirements. The campaigns at FOUR PAWS have engaged major brands in the outdoor industry, such as The North Face and Patagonia, and have taken part in processes that have led to setting up industry-wide traceability and animal welfare standards: RDS (Responsible Down Standard), a Textile Exchange-owned standard and TDS (Traceable Down Standard) an NSF-owned standard. While almost all traceability gaps are tackled under these standards, they do not yet prohibit suppliers from providing cruel down in parallel to certified down, mainly because most suppliers cannot yet meet that requirement.

 

“FOUR PAWS has called for prohibiting parallel production at the supplier level since the inception of those standards. We applaud ALLIED Feather and Down for being the first major processor to concur and understand the importance of such a measure,” continued Ms. Lary.

 

When brands such as The North Face and Patagonia wanted to implement the full supply chain traceability standards, they had to depend on suppliers like ALLIED and Downlite to make it a reality and the readiness of those suppliers to be transparent about the processors they work with, the slaughterhouses, and farms. In the end, it was these suppliers that made the shift a reality for the ambitious brands and therefore enabled the first spark that is now leading to a transformation of the entire down industry.

 

As long as geese and ducks are raised for meat and their down is used, FOUR PAWS will push to ensure that they have a life free of pain and suffering and a life where their essential needs are met. This is why FOUR PAWS calls on brands and suppliers to trace their full down supply chain in order to provide the highest possible guarantees that the cruel practices of live-plucking and force-feeding are truly avoided. FOUR PAWS encourages consumers to also consider alternatives to down. However if they do choose down, consumers should shop with care and avoid brands that cannot guarantee that the down supplied in their products was fully controlled and audited under the strictest animal welfare and traceability standards.


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