Target: Elayne Masterson, Chair of Textile Exchange
Goal: Thank organization for establishing a certifiable welfare standard for the manufacture of down products
Earlier this year, the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) was launched by Textile Exchange in order to establish a certified animal welfare and traceability standard for the humane treatment of geese and ducks in the production and manufacturing of down products. Since its creation it has continued to make changes and improvements to the standards it has set and has also brought on board many of the largest retailers of down products in the world. For doing what had never been done before and establishing a marketable welfare standard for down production, the Responsible Down Standard deserves our support.
The original RDS guidelines were vague and did little to offer a creditable certification to those who participated or to answer questions and concerns raised by animal welfare groups about the legitimacy of its regulations. Over the past year, however, the RDS has teamed up with The North Face and has drafted several new guidelines that are stronger and allow for a more open process for companies to participate. Since the changes, numerous major retailers have committed themselves to sourcing only RDS-certified down in their 2015 product lines, including The North Face, Eddie Bauer, Allied Feather & Down, Helly Hansen, Mammut, Marmot, Montane, Nau and Outdoor Research. The North Face, for example, has committed to 30 percent down from RDS-certified sources by 2015 and says it will aim for 100 percent RDS materials by 2017.
Manufacturing down is a horribly inhumane process, rivaling the environments of slaughterhouses. Force-feeding, overcrowding, birds trapped under cages and left to die, throats being slit while still conscious, and feathers ripped out while still alive are all common occurrences at the farms where ducks and geese are raised to produce down. The majority of the world’s down supply comes from Eastern Asia and China, which have relatively no regulations at all as far as the welfare of the animals is concerned. RDS-certified down means that the animals are raised in a humane environment that is also free of live plucking. It will also often mean that the feathers used are the by-products of waterfowl slaughtered for meat production.
Please take a moment to sign the petition below to thank Textile Exchange for establishing the Responsible Down Standard and helping put an end to animal cruelty in the retail industry.
Dear Elayne Masterson,
At the beginning of 2014, your company, Textile Exchange, established the Responsible Down Standard in an effort to reduce the appalling cruelty found in the farming of ducks and geese for their down. This is the first certification of its kind and many of the world’s largest retailers and distributors of down products have already committed themselves to its regulations.
Thank you so much for giving these animals a level of welfare they have never had before, and also for bringing greater awareness to animal welfare within the retail industry.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: bonniesducks via Flickr