LEARNING CENTER/PREFERRED DOWN
Down is a natural material that has been used an insulation in bedding, clothing, and equipment for many years. It is known for providing a high level of warmth at a very low weight. Because it is a by-product of the meat industry, the environmental impact of down is quite low. With the production of animal-derived materials, the companies involved should be responsible for taking all the steps to ensure the animals are not subject to any unnecessary harm.
Preferred Down is down that comes from supply chains that have strong animal welfare principles in place and has a chain of custody certified to: the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), Traceable Down Standard (TDS), Downpass, as well as organic and recycled third party standards.
> Material Summary: Down • pdf | member/paid
LEARN MORE ABOUT RESPONSIBLE DOWN
Follow the development of Responsible Down and access tools and resources to implement the standard.
Holistic respect of animal welfare includes protection of the Five Freedoms: freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from discomfort, freedom from pain, injury or disease, freedom to express normal behavior, and freedom from fear and distress. Practices that may cause distress, injury, or pain to ducks and geese include live-plucking, force-feeding, poor handling, and others.
For geese that are raised for the production of foie gras, a practice was developed to ensure that the liver was especially fatty. Force feeding is exactly what it sounds like: a tube is manually or mechanically forced into the geese’s mouth to force them to eat more than is natural. This practice is very painful and stress=inducing for the animal.
In most cases, birds are slaughtered for their meat before down and feathers are removed as a by-product. Some cases have been observed of the down and feathers being removed from geese while it was still alive, a very painful experience for the animal. Responsible sourcing of down and feathers should include a zero-tolerance policy for live-plucking.
Only a few years ago, many companies did not know and had never asked about where their down and feather materials come from. When campaigns began raising the level of awareness on animal welfare issues, these companies realized they needed better tools to identify material from the source. It is important to have a policy or guidelines in place that allow your company to have verification of practices on the farm and throughout the supply chain.
> Insider Series: Allied Feather & Down • online | public
FIRST STEPS TO USING RESPONSIBLE DOWN
In many cases, you will be able to find a down supplier that has available stock. You can contact them and get product integrated into your supply. If you would prefer to work with your existing supply chain, you will need to work with them to get certified. Each stage of production is required to get certified to ensure that 1) wherever birds are present, their full rights are respected and 2) the identity of RDS down is maintained with every movement of goods. The first step of certification is to contact the certification body to start the process.
JOIN THE RDS INTERNATIONAL WORKING GROUP
The International Working Group is a multi-stakeholder group that is responsible for revising the current version of the standard. This group is comprised of any interested parties, including down suppliers, producers, brands and retailers, animal welfare groups and others. Participation is open to anyone, pending agreement to the RDS IWG Charter.