Whose Body is Warmer: You or the Goose?

It’s another cold winter day and i’m still searching for that perfect winter jacket. What embeds a “perfect” jacket? One that I know will keep me warm, isn’t too heavy, has the right amount of pockets and didn’t come from an animal being harmed in any way for its fur or insulation i.e) live plucking as per the image posted.

I’ve been looking at, specifically, down jackets. There’s two sides to this story and one in particular that caught my attention is that it can be “ethical”. What does that even mean?! One can argue that it is still cruelty but what really happens compared to the next steps some companies have taken, is better than the current process. Patagonia is the current the leader in this category with their “100% traceable down insulation”, which started in 2013 – never live plucked nor forced-fed. The following was pulled from their site:

We start by auditing the parent farms, where birds are raised to produce eggs. This is where the highest risk for live-plucking occurs, as animals live here up to four years. Even though we don’t get our down from these birds, we feel obliged to look out for their welfare as they are an essential part of the down supply chain. This is what sets us apart from other brands also concerned about animal welfare.

The eggs produced at parent farms are transferred to other farms, where hatchlings are raised for their meat. We audit these farms to ensure sound animal welfare practices. Down is a byproduct of the food industry, and the down we buy comes exclusively from slaughterhouses. After the down is collected from geese that have been killed for their meat, we follow it through washing, sorting and processing facilities to ensure proper traceability and segregation from untraceable down. We continue our audits all the way to the garment factory, where we make sure our down is kept apart from that of other brands, and used only in our clothing. It’s a lot of work. But this is how we ensure every bird whose down we use has been treated humanely.

The price to pay for responsibly sourced down doesn’t come easy but it can easily be compared to brands such as Canada Goose (where you pay almost double the price for a brand and company that has controversial/debatable news on its sourcing). The one company that I have been falling for though is the Swedish Company, Fjallraven. Not entirely well known in Canada yet but what they stand for and is transparent about, is enough to sweep me off my feet. They also have a “Down Promise“, which also ties back to traceability and ensuring it’s a by-product. They’ve also received an honourable mention from Animal Welfare Sweden for our down handling practices in 2010 (read more here). It’s not cheap – $800 for a jacket but I do read a lot into their company’s practices and quality before making any further advances in purchasing said products. Here is their version of responsible “down”:

To Ponder On: How do you plan on taking the next step of where your money goes, when it comes to clothes? What’s stopping you from hopping onto the bandwagon of a company that is ethically better and transparent about it?

Photo Source: Four Paws

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3 thoughts on “Whose Body is Warmer: You or the Goose?

  1. Sigh. I never know what to do about this…I don’t wear down so that means I buy synthetic duvets and jackets, but I feel like that’s perhaps even worse in the long run (in terms of environmental impact). It’s good to know there are other options.

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    • It’s also an option to financially calculate. Ie) can you actually afford it? I would rather have people be warm than spend savings for their food for an ethical jacket to stay warm. Then again, if your synthetic jacket breaks down in a year or so, which will require you to buy another one (and the situation repeats), isnt it more worthwhile to spend on one with a better quality. Tough choices to make in something so simple sometimes.

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  2. I don’t support the sale of down products in any form. Even as a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t know how those ducks were treated. Synthetic fabrics are improving all the time and these options are used by many, even in the arctic.

    That is why I have chosen a vegan lifestyle ~ it simplifies my life.

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