Our site works best with JavaScript enabled.

Develop - what's new from the Alpkit Design Team

Ethical Down Sourcing - Part 3

By Nick | 18, Feb, 2009

A look into recent claims that probably all the down you ever bought came from live plucked birds.

On 1st February 2009 the Swedish documentary programme "Cold Facts" was aired on TV4, and has reignighted the debate on live plucking. The imagery is shocking and has prompted a response to the documentary by the World Society for the Protection of Animals, with this press release.

Because of this we have been asked to amend a quote from Dr Mike Appleby, to reflect the societies current view on this issue that we had posted in our previous article. If you want to see the film you will need to get to it from a Swedish URL, as the TV4 website doesnt like people from the UK viewing their stuff, or a direct link.

Having now only seen parts of the film, due to patchy streaming and not really understanding the commentary. I still think I got the main gist of it, which is live plucking is still going on. What i dont know is what was said so i can only go from the various reports and press releases. These seem to indicate that a high percentage of down around the world is live plucked, although this is being refuted by various down organisations, they would say that, as they are set up for the benefit of the down producers not for the geese. I guess the first thing to say is that contrary to previous evidence live plucking looks pretty gruesome. Although we knew it wasn't a good thing, we didn't have much evidence to say it was a terrible thing. Now we do.

So the real issue that this documentary brought up was the prevalence of down plucking. The quoted statistic was 80-90%. But we dont know the evidence to support this claim. When we did our research last year we were satisfied that the likely hood that our down came from live plucked birds, was minimal. This programme now casts doubt on this. So we will now have to be a little more proactive. I have already asked our suppliers to sign a statement as to the provenance of the down, and we will be more questioning when we next go to China. We will certainly do everything we can over the next few weeks to find out more.

Some links for further reading:

  • Google+

In pictures

Related content

Hillwalking Kit List
Tips and advice for walking clothes and equipment
In Spotlight
The Proof of the Pudding
make sure you test your equipment
In Daring Deeds
Wild Camping Tips and Kit List
The guide to getting it right when camping out
In Spotlight
Which down jacket to buy
AK's handy guide to down jackets
In Spotlight
How to choose a sleeping bag - an Alpkit guide
The factors involved in selecting a suitable sleeping bag for your next big trip
In Spotlight
Winter Camping: Tips For A Great Nights Sleep
Optimise your sleeping bag's warmth
In Spotlight
How warm does my sleeping bag need to be?
Alpkit guide to comfort ratings for sleeping bags
In Spotlight
Winterise your summer camping setup
Get your summer camping gear winter ready
In Spotlight
How to Choose an Insulated Jacket
Which insulated jacket to buy
In Spotlight

More from Develop

Be the first to hear about our newest products and promotions

Join AlpCol's Espresso newsletter for that hit of Go Nice Places, Do Good Things Greatness


By adding your email you consent to our terms and conditions