ALLIED RESPONSE TO SPECIFIC CLAIMS associating ALLIED with live-plucked material
ALLIED takes our responsible sourcing initiatives extremely seriously. We have worked tirelessly for years as industry leaders developing supply chains that give our partners assurances that we are doing everything we can to provide the highest quality responsibly sourced material free of not just live plucking and force feeding, but all animal welfare concerns. Any allegations of animal welfare abuse within or even associated with our supply chain is a very serious matter.
This is why we firmly believe in the need for industry standards such as the Responsible Down Standard.
Recent claims have been made by PETA that loosely associate live-plucked material from a white goose down cooperative to ALLIED, by way of a very small supply chain pre-processor. After intensive research, it is with total confidence that we can say absolutely no such down was purchased by ALLIED nor used in any partners’ products that use ALLIED down.
PETA has released video footage they claim shows live plucking from a white goose farming cooperative in China from August 2015. They also claim this cooperative sells this material to a small pre-processor that ALLIED has worked with in a minimal capacity. PETA’s claim is that this one small part of this pre-processor’s supply chain could have entered into ALLIED’s supply through this very small supplier. We take this very seriously, but our records clearly show ALLIED never received any product that could be related to live plucking in the very small amount we did purchase from this supplier dating back to 2014.
With complete transparency, ALLIED did purchase a small amount from this Chinese intermediary in October of 2014, and then again in February 2015 (less than .09% of ALLIED’s total supply for each season). We required every supply chain partner at that time, including the one in question, to sign declarations stating that no material procured from live-plucked or force-fed birds would be sold to ALLIED. In lieu of third-party certification – which was simply not possible for our entire supply chain at that time – we additionally worked with regional veterinarians in order to obtain official certificates that showed all material was procured from birds raised solely for food and collected at the slaughterhouse post-slaughter. We have never solely rely on the word of any supply chain partner alone in something so sensitive to us. While this was the best industry practice at the time, third-party certification now further ensures that 100% of ALLIED down is from birds that are never live plucked or force fed.
In the November 2014 shipment from this intermediary, ALLIED purchased a small amount of lower-fill power material – such material would never come from live-plucked birds, as live-plucked material comes from larger more mature birds producing a much higher fill power. Then, in March 2015, ALLIED received a small amount of grey goose down – this is almost 9 months prior to the video PETA is using to attempt to tie ALLIED directly to live-plucked material captured in a video from white geese. PETA has claimed this video comes from the above mentioned white goose farming cooperative and does clearly show white geese being live plucked. However, again, all material purchase by ALLIED from the Chinese supplier comes from grey geese as a by-product of the food industry. Given this information and with all the corresponding documentation, we are 100% confident that the material from the video footage or material harvested from live-plucked birds and allegedly sold to the Chinese intermediary in question did NOT enter into the ALLIED supply chain making any association between ALLIED Feather & Down and live-plucked material seen or described by PETA inaccurate.
Live plucking is not new to the down industry and is a practice we have long abhorred. This is one reason why we, back in 2009, we were the first supplier to the industry to require that all supply chain members sign declarations and involve regional veterinarians to keep any live-plucked material from entering our supply. Further, we understood the need for a robust standard that the entire industry could benefit from and opened our supply chain to help develop the Responsible Down Standard.
Although live plucking is not a large part of the industry-wide supply chain (approximately 1 – 2% of the total supply chain as cited by the European Down & Feather Association), it is a problem we take very seriously. The birds at risk for such treatment are those that are much more mature than those within the food supply chain and usually reside at a mother goose farm where the bird is raised for quite a few years to lay the eggs needed to support the food industry. These birds, due to their age, can produce an extremely high fill power material uncommon in most down-filled products. Since the inception of the RDS, ALLIED has not and will not purchase down from any mother goose farm that has not been certified and thoroughly audited through the RDS.
ALLIED is completely committed to having a responsible, trustworthy, and ethical supply chain. We have continued to work with the largest industry standards to certify close to 100% of our global supply chain by the end of 2016. These new third party standards further increase traceability and offer a robust chain of custody to help to ensure that material like this never enters into our supply. The claims made by PETA come from a time just after the release of the Responsible Down Standard and in no way reflects the robust and comprehensive nature of these standards today.
Regardless, we are concerned about these claims – not just for us, but for the entire industry. We are therefore looking closely at this region to ensure none of our certified supply chain partners are supporting such a practice, knowingly or not. It is critical that we provide all our partners the highest quality, most responsibly sourced material available, and these allegations simply help demonstrate the importance of third-party standards such as the Responsible Down Standard and Global Traceable Down Standard. We are confident that with standards like these, in addition to other strong brand-level third-party-certified CSR sourcing initiatives, it is only a matter of time before such atrocities are eradicated completely.
We take great pride in our supply chain, and it saddens us that some markets and suppliers do support such practices and certain small farms are willing to misrepresent their product. By supporting the standards, we can increase visibility, employ more aggressive of auditing throughout the entire supply chain, and ultimately decrease demand of a product collected from birds that have been mistreated in any capacity.
With the utmost sincerity,
ALLIED Feather & Down