/ Choose Ethical Down

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Ducks Rock - on 01 Dec 2012
I have mentioned this before on this forum and got kicked off for my troubles, but I will say it again. Before you buy a down product check where the down is sourced as there are some very unethical farms. There ARE ethical sources and products. If you are not sure buy primaloft instead.

If you are interested in reading about the unethical farms you can start here.

Timmd on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Ducks Rock:Thanks for posting.

Poor birds.
koolkat - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Ducks Rock:
do we know if for example rab , me , alpkit , tnf , phd , etc use ethical down and would they like to post on here
Timmd on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to koolkat:

Rab, which makes expedition-quality clothing, said: 'We do our utmost to ethically source down but the complexity and scale of the down supply chain makes a 100 per cent guarantee almost impossible. To say otherwise could be dishonest and misleading.'

Kudos to Rab I think.
Ducks Rock - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Timmd: Indeed you cant ask for more than honesty.
Mikkel - on 01 Dec 2012
scrufff on 01 Dec 2012 - 82-71-49-171.dsl.in-addr.zen.co.uk
In reply to Ducks Rock:

PHD don't use live plucking according to this:

If TNF and PHD can be sure, why can't Rab?
MtnGeekUK - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Ducks Rock:

ME are moving in the right direction...


itsThere on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to Ducks Rock: Its EU law(i think but am fairly certain on this) and they all get it from ethical sources. Please back up your statment with facts. oh and patagonia sorted out the problems they had. the daily mail isnt fact since live plucking is illegal
tom84 - on 01 Dec 2012
In reply to itsThere:

i think you need to understand that live plucking is the norm, illegal or not- and that all but one or two manufacturers use it- mountain equipment are about the only ones that truly know where it comes from.

i believe patagonia sorted their problems out with the help of mountain equipment because they (patagonia) were getting down from the same place TNF were.

another point: "ethically sourced" is an utterly useless and pointless phrase. they have sourced it ethically. but where it came from before it was sourced by the down houses is untraceable. therefore it needs to be sourced ethically by the wholesaler before it gets to the manufacturer. does that make sense, hopefully it does.
davidbeynon on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Ducks Rock:

There was a Norwegian manufacturer that claimed not to use live plucking for animal welfare reasons. Can't remember who they were though, just that I came across it when I was looking for sleeping bags a few years back.
davidbeynon on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to davidbeynon: Could have been Norrøna

The current version of their site reads:

"Norrøna products and raw materials take into account humane animal welfare. We will not use wool from mulesing of sheep. The down we use is a bi product from the food industry. Our Coyote fur is from Canada and the animals are put down by licenced hunters."
Dave 88 - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to scrufff:

Because RAB are being honest. As has been said elsewhere on the thread, the traceability is very hard. RAB could easily say theirs is 100% ethical but they know how hard it is to be sure so they include that caveat. Fair play to them I say.
Sean_J - on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Dave 88: Absolutely. SInce Rab have outsourced production to China, they can't be 100% sure of where the Chinese are sourcing the down for their products - based on my experience of Chinese manufacturing in other fields, they'll not think twice about ignoring quality and cutting corners just to make an extra fraction of a penny per item they can churn out.
martinph78 on 03 Dec 2012
In reply to Sean_J:

"High-grade down from live geese — using the softest feathers from the breast region, as opposed to the longer ones from the back, under the wings and the neck — can fetch as much as £22 per kilo.

The going rate for those from slaughtered creatures is just £1.60. But the price paid by the bird is far greater."

That doesn't suggest that it is saving a fraction of a penny using live plucked down. Quite the opposite in fact.

Ducks Rock - on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to itsThere: Could you please clarify which statement you would like me to back up with facts as I am not aware I have made any statements, or is this a response to someone else's post?
davidbeynon on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to Ducks Rock:

I'm hoping to see the day when synthetic fills get good enough to make down properly obsolete myself. Quite apart from animal welfare issues it goes to crap when it's wet, and costs a fortune and occasionally makes me stop breathing.

Hopefully another couple of generations of R&D will give us a new fill that will see it off completely and I can dump my down gear for good.
Ducks Rock - on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to itsThere: Not sure if this is the kind of thing you are after, but this is from the EU Commission who carried out a scientific study. It should, by it's nature, be unbiased. I hope this helps
Scientific Opinion on the practice of harvesting (collecting) feathers from live geese for down production:

If you wanted peer reviewed research on down collected as a by product of foie gras, then searching any journal library such as Science Direct will give you a range of papers that research the affects on heath and welfare of the animals involved. Do check who the research has been commissioned by though as on both sides funding source usually implicates some kind of bias.
Ducks Rock - on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to itsThere: This paper also gives a good overview of production and it's issues, stating if kept within the confines of regulations it is possible to cause minimal suffering:
If you want the full paper you will need to purchase it.
As I said, there are both ethical and unethical... but of course ethics are subjective so it is largely up to the individual to make their own choices.
Siward on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to davidbeynon:

Any synthetic will just be derived from the petrochemical industry and will doubtless require replacement sooner rather than later. At least down is a renewable resource
davidbeynon on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to Siward:

You can make synthetics from other feedstocks, it's just that petrochemicals are cheap and easy at the moment. Give it 50 years and they will be making all the plastics from plants or synthesising oil from seawater and CO2, assuming we survive.
captain paranoia - on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to Ducks Rock:

> I am not aware I have made any statements

This appears to be a pretty clear statement:

"Before you buy a down product check where the down is sourced as there are some very unethical farms."
Ducks Rock - on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to captain paranoia:Oh, right, sorry, that' why I put the link to the newspaper article there so people could read for themselves then decide what they thought to be ethical in their own minds. Personally I believe that live plucking is unethical whether is it legally permissible in certain countries or not. You may feel it is acceptable. It is all subjective, hence why I suggested people read and decide for themselves.
If I was submitting this forum post to a peer reviewed journal then I would expect to have to back up every word I said with references, but being a forum for general discussion and debate I didn't feel I needed to.
itsThere on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to Ducks Rock: so i am going to make my own choice based on the article you first posted. which is very one sided, maybe you could add links to show what manufacturers are doing to be ethical. , instead of showing half the story. thats nice and ethical/missleading.

RAB http://rab.uk.com/technology/sleeping-bags_1/down.html
it has it on there somewhere
Mountain Equipment http://www.thedownproject.me.uk/
Deuter http://www.deuter.com/en_US/622-634.php?title=Animal%20welfare
Vaude http://www.vaude.com/en-GB/Down/
Mammut http://www.mammut.ch/en/cr_faq.html
Haglofs http://www.haglofs.com/en-US/sustainability1/
Northface who knows their website is crap to find any info on anything(look for the 5 dimensional fit for the gloves they make, still dont know what that 5th one is)
Patagonia http://www.patagonia.com/eu/enGB/patagonia.go?assetid=58468
Ducks Rock - on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to itsThere: I am not quite sure what you are so miffed about, if I offended your ethics by posting a link to a current national newspaper article then perhaps you should stick to reading forums where people don't have their own opinions. If you wish to attack people for merely suggesting a practice may be unethical then go right ahead but in my eyes you are just coming across as antagonistic.
If you read my original post I have stated there are ethical choices, if you are offended I didn't spend more time trying to find links to these places then forgive me for thinking that you can use google and find out for yourself.
Ducks Rock - on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to itsThere: if I posted a link to an unethical bank or insurance company news story would you still insist I post links to ethical banks and insurance companies just to be fair to the good ones? Somehow I don't think so.
Shearwater - on 04 Dec 2012
Ducks Rock - on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to Shearwater: thank you to all the people that have posted the information linking to all the sites.
itsThere on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to Ducks Rock: all i am saying is the outdoor industry is making an effort to be ethical. or most of it is. linking it to other users of down is a bit unfair given the curent effort to be ethical.
Ducks Rock - on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to Ducks Rock: understood. I specifically put this post in off belay as I was intending it to be about down in general rather than just aimed at the outdoor industry. I also hoped people would look for ethical sources and post about them here, which they have, which is great. I am pleased that most companies are 'trying' but personally unless I can be guaranteed it isn't live plucked then I would rather choose synthetic.
itsThere on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to Ducks Rock: also to add to that. there is also force feeding and who uses this. to what extent they are force fed. NF are a member of this http://www.bluesign.com/index.php?id=home which is about to sustainability. but nothing on the down source problems they had/have. but its quite hard to find out if they know much/anything from the nf website.
Ducks Rock - on 04 Dec 2012
In reply to itsThere: you enter a whole world of traceability issues if you look at by products of gavage farms. When industry says a by product of the food industry that does not necessarily exclude gavage farms.
I think this post may have been moved.
Iain Thow - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to Sean_J: Just to point out that Rab don't source their down from China. Some of their synthetics are made there but the down is from Eastern Europe, largely because if it isn't air freighted then it will loft better, although there is an ethical benefit as it's easier to trace sources. They have signed up to the European Down & Feather Institute code on traceability, (as I gather have ME).

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