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FOUR PAWS launches web tool to help consumers choose animal-friendly down

FOUR PAWS has today launched a unique new web tool which shows consumers how some of the world’s biggest outdoor clothing and equipment brands are performing in terms of the animal welfare standards in the down they use in their products.


With the "Cruelty Free Down Challenge" FOUR PAWS is now inviting top outdoor brands like Vango, KathmanduFjällrävenJack Wolfskin, Mammut, Mountain Equipment, VaudeNorth Face and Patagonia  to take on the traceability challenge.


Down is a prized commodity for the outdoor equipment industry. Every year, hundreds of tonnes of it are processed, from millions of ducks and geese. Many outdoor equipment manufacturers state that the feathers they use come only from birds that were reared and killed for meat, and that were only plucked after slaughter. However, there is often very little traceability within the supply lines of these companies.


Large amounts of down feather that is produced still originates from geese and ducks that have been live plucked or force fed.

“Cruelty Free Down Challenge” shows development in traceability of down products

In recent years, FOUR PAWS has worked with some leading outdoor brands, and many of these companies have now started to make the supply chain of the down that they source both traceable and transparent.


On the "Cruelty Free Down Challenge" website, companies will be placed at different levels on a symbolic mountain, according to the quality of their down traceability standards. Five steps must be fulfilled to reach the summit. As a company satisfies the next criterion, it can move up the mountain. If a brand reaches the summit, it means they can prove as far as possible that its down did not come from live-plucked or force-fed birds.


First Level: Firms have defined traceability as a corporate goal

Second Level: Firms are already checking farms to make sure they are not force feeding or live plucking

Level 3 – 5: Firms have to take further measures to improve traceability, such as inspecting farms unannounced 

Online petition against live feather plucking and force feeding

Both live feather plucking and force feeding are cruel practices that amount to torture for the birds. FOUR PAWS is fighting this animal cruelty with an online petition. Show your support by signing our online petition: