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Our Goals

baby-duckThe Responsible Down Standard aims to ensure that down and feathers come from animals that have not been subjected to an unnecessary harm. It is our hope that the standard can be used to reward and influence the down and feather industry to incentivize practices that respect the humane treatment of ducks and geese. We believe that education – through the RDS – is a meaningful way to drive demand for strong animal welfare practices. The standard also provides companies and consumers with a tool to know what is in their products, and to make accurate claims.

What is the RDS?

The Responsible Down Standard is an independent, voluntary global standard, which means that companies can choose to certify their products to the RDS, even if there is no legislation requiring them to do so. The RDS was developed and revised over three years, with the input of animal welfare groups, industry experts, brands and retailers. The standard recognizes and rewards the best practices in animal welfare.

What does Responsible Mean?

The intent and spirit of the standard is best reflected by one of Oxford Dictionary’s definitions of responsible: “morally accountable for one’s behaviour.” Not only farmers, but brands and supply chain members need to meet their obligations to respect the Five Freedoms of the animals that provide their down and feathers, and to meet the trust of consumers that are choosing RDS products.

Find out more about what the RDS means for birds and farmers

Key points in the standard


Any removal of down and feathers from live birds (live-plucking or molt-harvesting) is prohibited

Force-feeding is prohibited

Holistic respect for animal welfare of the birds from hatching to slaughter

RDS down and feathers is properly identified; to ensures that non-RDS down and feathers are not mistakenly identified as RDS

Each stage in supply chain is audited by a professional, third party certification body

Only products with 100% certified down and feathers carry the RDS logo

How does the RDS work?

When a brand chooses to use the RDS, a number of things happen:


1. The brand talks to their suppliers to get a clear picture of their down supply chain. Eventually each step of the supply chain, all the way to the farm, will get certified by an approved third-party (called a Certification Body).

2. The certification process involves two steps.

1) On-site audit: an inspector visits a factory or company, does a visual inspection, checks documents and procedures, and interviews staff and workers. The results from this visit is called an audit report.
2) Certification decision: the audit report is sent to a certifier who will review all the results, and decide whether the company is issued certification or not.

Every certification conducted by a Certification Body involves two people: an inspector and a certifier. This is called the ‘four eyes principle’.

3. On farms and slaughterhouses (anywhere animals are present) the Certification Body checks the well being of the animals, looks for any evidence of live plucking or force-feeding, and makes sure everything is done in accordance with the standard.

4. At factories and manufacturers the Certification Body checks the RDS materials (down, feathers, jackets, duvets, etc.) that enter and leave a factory to make sure they are properly identified. RDS products are tracked as they move through production, and kept separate from non-certified products.

Stories from the Shadow Audits
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Find RDS Companies

RDS Apparel companies

RDS Outdoor companies

RDS Home companies

News and Updates

Here’s a view of the latest action with the RDS and animal welfare. Be sure to scroll through to see all of the updates.
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More answers to your questions about RDS and how we can change the world.

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