brands under fire

North Face Under Fire for Using Down from Foie Gras Geese

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 20, 2012 04:35 PM

As McDonald's looks to buff up its brand perception by responding to critics of its animal products sourcing, another US-based brand is under fire for its sourcing of animal products. 

The North Face outdoor apparel brand confirmed to the Telegraph in London that it purchases goose down feathers from California's Allied Feather & Down, the world's leading supplier of down to the garment industry — which primarily sources its down feathers from foie gras producers in Hungary, who force-feed geese in a process deemed cruel by animal rights activists.

A North Face rep didn't deny knowledge of the source, tellng the Telegraph reporter, “All of the down we are supplied by Allied Feather is a by-product of the food industry which, as the largest purchaser of goose product, drives the practice of force-feeding. We are working with our partners to identify alternative long-term sources of goose down that is not a by-product of force-feeding.”

The brand hasn't responded to comments on Twitter and Facebook about the issue, although its website (oddly) states, "We test on humans" — a veiled response to the animal rights brigade?

A spokesman for PETA, which targets foie gras sellers, commented: "There can be no justification for inflicting this kind of suffering when warm, cruelty-free synthetics are widely available."

Patagonia, which also uses the embattled down supplier, sent its executives to Hungary at the request of animal rights groups to see the farms where the down was being plucked. It's also searching for an alternative supplier to Allied Feather, which sells down to other brands including Eddie Bauer, Helly Hansen and The Company Store, according to its website, which lists its bluesign-approved commitment to sustainable practices (but not cruelty-free).

Below, a concerned comment posted on North Face's Facebook page:


Anne Green Wilson United Kingdom says:

While using feathers which are a by-product of the food industry is something I agree with, I cannot condone feathers that are a by-product of the foie gras industry, especially when the feathers are coming from sources with horrendous animal welfare standards- something particularly common in  Eastern European farms. It's also true that synthetic alternatives to feathers are available that are just as warm without the moral implications. Foie gras is seen as a high class delicacy but has some grim realities behind it that not many know about. Feathers aside, eating it is another issue altogether- join the debate on Positive Luxury and give your opinion:

February 21, 2012 06:17 AM #

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