I am a vegetarian and I love down, but some of the stuff on the internet was wearing on me so I went to the sources. I try to limit my leather, but when it comes to my hiking boots, I make an exception because i have size 10 AAA feet and i need to have good hiking boots. I try to make animal friendly earth friendly decisions. but sometime synthetics which are animal friendly are not earth friendly. Synthetics made from recycled materials are better for the environment. I really like GoLite for these reasons. The only animal products they use is down. Lots of tough decisions out there.
Patagonia, North Face, Marmot and Eddie Bauer all purchase their down form Allied Feathers. The see to it that all feathers are byproducts of the food industry, are not force fed and are not live plucked. I am waiting to hear from Columbia and Sierra Designs. But my bet is they have similar practices.
Thank you for contacting The North Face.
The North Face has consistently used a single supplier of down material for more than 10 years. During this time the practice of live plucking has not been used to obtain our down product. This is true for the entire product range from 550 to 900 fill power down. Our high quality down consists primarily of down clusters and typically less then 10% of actual feather content. The act of live plucking is not only inhumane but also provides primarily feather that does not benefit our high quality products. Our high quality down clusters are a by-product of the meat industry and removed from the bird only after it has been slaughtered
Along with banning live plucking, force feeding is not used in the supply of The North Face down material. We work with our partner Allied Feather & Down to ensure practices that are respectful and humane. We are greatly concerned and disappointed to hear of the continued live plucking in the industry. We are currently working with Allied Feather to create an auditing procedure to validate our down polices of No Live plucking and No Force Feeding.
Dear Ms. Ticsay,
Thanks so much for writing and for your interest in our sustainability work, specifically our policies on down sourcing. The short answer is that, as a matter of principle, policy, and practice, our down is certified as having been sourced as a byproduct of the food industry, with no live-pluck harvesting involved, a practice that we believe is grotesque and inhumane. You can find out more about our down sourcing in our 2009 Sustainability Report which can be downloaded in its entirety on our website here:
Please see especially pages 82 - 83 in the section called "About Our Down."
I also wanted to let you know that since the release of our 2009 Sustainability Report in January 2010, we have also been able to find and source 850 fill down (lighter and warmer than 800 fill) which meets the same certifications and no-live-pluck standards as outlined below and in the report, so the report's information is dated on this point. We offer 850 fill down in our 2011 Bitterroot down parka.
By chance, are you the customer who asked about our down sourcing practices when you visited our Boulder warehouse sale last week? One of our store employees mentioned that you had lots of great questions about our down and that you would email us. I've been waiting to hear from you!
I hope I've answered your questions, but feel free to let me know if you have further questions or concerns.