Lands’ End, Eddie Bauer Deny PETA Accusations Of Using Down Ripped From Live Geese

Image courtesy of PETA

If you yank the soft down feathers from the body of a goose that’s still alive, here’s the thing: the goose can grow that plumage back, and you can pluck it again. That’s apparently the inhumane practice on some poultry farms in China. A continuing investigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals discovered live-plucking on farms linked to suppliers of well-known U.S. retailers Lands’ End, Eddie Bauer, L.L. Bean, Sears, and Amazon.

As anyone with hair might imagine, having feathers plucked while alive and awake is extremely painful and stressful for the birds. PETA sent camera-equipped investigators to farms that supply brands claiming to use responsibly-sourced down, and found bald birds as well as people who admitted that they pass off live-plucked down as being plucked after geese are slaughtered.

“We advertised that it’s all plucked after slaughter,” PETA says that one industry representative told an investigator. “Nobody dares to buy it if you say it’s live-plucked.”

That might come as a surprise to customers who buy items certified by the Responsible Down Standard or from companies that promote their down as otherwise cruelty-free.

Lands’ End has posted its response to this and similar accusations on their site, saying:

“Lands’ End does not use, purchase, or source live plucked down which is a barbaric practice that is completely out of line with our values… Our customers can be assured that we are fully committed to having a responsible, trustworthy, and ethical supply chain. We take all allegations extremely seriously and we vigorously investigate each one of them to ensure that all needed actions are taken, including suspending any supplier that does not live up to our high standards.”

We heard back from Eddie Bauer as well, which also denied PETA’s allegations.

“We take this issue very seriously,” a company representative said in a statement to Consumerist. “Eddie Bauer does not purchase live-plucked down, does not use live-plucked down in its products, and does not condone cruelty to animals.”

Eddie Bauer’s representative went on to explain that the company uses one supplier, Allied Feather and Down, and investigated the specific allegations from PETA that down from live birds could have been used in their products.

“AFD confirmed that they do not source from the factories PETA identified, as they are not [Responsible Down Standard] certified,” the company said.

We also contacted L.L. Bean, Sears, and Amazon, the other retailers specifically named in PETA’s allegations, and will update this post when we hear back from them.

Update: We heard back from L.L. Bean, which also sent us a statement expressing confidence in its suppliers and down:

“In response to the PETA allegations we have been in contact with our suppliers as well as with the Textile Exchange regarding the claims made by PETA. We are confident the down we purchase is from suppliers that are Responsible Down Certified and is not live-plucked.”

If it’s true that suppliers pluck live birds in secret and lie about the feathers’ origin, that would make investigations back to the original source difficult. Global supply chains are complex and difficult.

Exposed: Despite ‘Responsible Down Standards,’ Farms Still Live-Plucking Geese [PETA]

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