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Feathered Friends

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"Feathered Friends" is the title of an article I just read in the winter 2015 issue of Insideoutdoor Magazine. The sub title is "Responsibility standards made down even more comforting". What the writer is referencing is the fact that Patagonia and The North Face companies decided too and actually have implemented standards that they adhere to of following the birth of geese and how they are cared for until they are killed so they can harvest the down for use in clothing that they sell.

They have pictures showing a small flock of white geese walking down a paved road along a brick fence with a pond on the others side. Maybe they are going to go around the fence and swim. A second picture shows the geese in larger numbers in quite a large field, the caption under the picture states "life on the farm" until of course they are killed. A third picture shows what the Swedish company Fjallraven refer\s to a "natural setting". They show a larger flock of geese on the ground and some floating in a pond. They further state that "there is water and space for the geese to roam in a flock". It looks to me like the chicken farms that harvest eggs. And of course they stay in these confines until they are killed. The last photo in the article the COO of Allied Feather and Down, a down supplier, a member of the Textile Exchange and a fellow from the Control Union who I guess is from China all smiling with their receipt of certification of how they all participated in some manner of killing the geese.

Do you think the geese would be volunteers to this charade, if they knew the outcome? The outcome of course is that friends of the feathered friends aren't their friends at all but rather their killers.

There is an organization known as "DOWNPASS Association" and headquarters in Germany, DOWNPASS is a down certification program for the outdoor apparel, sleeping bag and home furnishing markets. DOWNPASS is based on the standards specified in the European Convention for the "Protection of Animals Kept for Farming Purposes" (italics mine) as it relates to animal husbandry. According to the organizations web site, vets and animal welfare organizations have played "a significant role" in the development of DOWNPASS standards. The primary goal is and I quote; "The standard's primary goal is to develop and implement a globally recognized system that supports production of down and feathers from ethical sources. With DOWNPASS, all finished products and down and feather transport containers must be traceable through the supply chain back to the breeding farms. The standard calls for inspections, traceability and audits carried out by recognized neutral third parties. Also, products bearing the DOWNPASS label must not contain feathers plucked from live animals. Traceability is at least provided to the slaughterhouse. DOWNPASS also excludes the use of feathers and down from force fed birds".

As I see it, these companies are spending a considerable amount of money sending people all over the world tracking the birth of geese and how they are raised and eventually killed. For what purpose, to let the potential buyers of their products know that they are concerned about the treatment of the birds before they are killed. All of the farmers in Europe that grow these birds probably think as they should that these people are not functioning logically. They are or should be humoring them if they are not. The farmers are going to do whatever is in their best interest with respect to raising the birds both for food and feathers. What if they the representatives of these companies visit the farms and see things they don't like, will the farmer change anything, maybe until they leave and then return to his methods? If they say they don't want this farmer's down will the farmer care, I think not, he can always sell his inventory to any down processor in Europe of the USA for that matter.

The last sentence of the article is almost beyond belief as far as I am concerned; I quote; "In the end" she adds, (she being a person named Gillespie who works at the Textile Exchange) "it all comes down to the number of birds being protected". Who is protecting the birds from being killed? Blank.

The real tragedy here is that the continuous filament fiberfill that I use and these companies can buy just like me is just as soft as down and far more efficient as an insulation and is completely un-effected by water. This last characteristic has been shown a multitude of times and I have presented that evidence on my web site in the testimonials. The continuous filament fiberfill is also considerably less expensive. These companies simply do not want to get off of the dead horse of down which is an obsolete product today. So they spend thousands of dollars having people over see the slaughter of the geese.

It is good for the geese that they don't know their fate. Feathered Friends is a bad joke.

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