A consortium of apparel makers wants the answer to that question to be “yes.” Here’s how they’re achieving it.
When it comes to material that is both warm and lightweight, nothing beats down. Yet, the soft white stuff that fills puffy jackets, comforters and sleeping bags does not descend from the heavens despite being its cloud-like feel—and in fact has a dark side. Down is a byproduct of the waterfowl meat industry, which means your snuggly winter jacket may come from a goose that had a feeding tube forced down its neck to fatten its liver for foie gras or might have been plucked while still alive, rather than after it was slaughtered for its meat.
In 2010, the Vienna-based animal welfare advocacy group Four Paws initiated a campaign to call out major outdoor clothing brands, including The North Face and Patagonia, for their use of goose and duck down from farms that force feed the animals. It also called out the practice of live plucking, which farmers do to derive more value from the animals, but it causes them tremendous pain and stress, Four Paws says.