From hardcore outdoor adventurers to weekend warriors who just like to be snug when they camp, consumers from all walks of life have been increasingly vocal about wanting more animal-friendly options when it comes to insulating fabrics – including demanding alternatives to down.
Another option has become available – Kathmandu launched a new down-free insulated men and women’s jacket called “The Lawrence”. Filled with a revolutionary material called ThermoPlume by PrimaLoft, which mimics the loft, lightness, and compressibility of goose down, The Lawrence provides warmth even when wet – it also dries faster than down and is easier to care for. Plus, unlike down, it’s hypoallergenic and no birds suffer for it!
“ThermoPlume technology perfectly demonstrates that down-free synthetics are exceeding down’s performance attributes,” says PETA Partnerships Liaison Emily Rice. “We’re pleased to see that Kathmandu’s innovative efforts have now provided Australian outdoor sports enthusiasts with outerwear that’s durable, light, packable, machine-washable, and, best of all, goose-friendly.”
What’s Wrong With Down?
Despite the extensive variety of high-tech, cruelty-free fillers that are now available, some brands persist in using cruelly produced down – the soft layer of under-feathers found closest to birds’ skin, primarily in the chest region.
A PETA US exposé of goose farms across China – the source of more than 80 per cent of the world’s down feathers – showed that struggling birds were roughly pinned down by workers who stepped on their delicate wings and tightly bound their feet together before yanking out their feathers so hard that their skin was often torn open, leaving gaping, bloody wounds. Hurried workers, known as “rippers”, stitched up these gashes using needles and thread – and no painkillers. Some of the terrified animals died from this ordeal.
Those who are slaughtered are first electrically stunned. After their throats are cut – a process that’s done by hand, for geese – and they’re bled, the birds are scalded to facilitate removal of large feathers. Sometimes, they’re still conscious when they’re dumped into the tanks of scalding-hot water.
While it’s great to see major companies such as Kathmandu offering a down-free choice, it’s important for consumers to keep demanding that they go 100 per cent down-free. Many brands (including Kathmandu) still tout the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) as proof that consumers are making an “ethical” choice, despite revelations by PETA investigators that live plucking occurs at some RDS-certified farms and that even when acquired post-slaughter, down is a product of suffering.
After all, animals are not ours to wear, and with snug options such as The Lawrence, which prove that we don’t need down to stay warm, it’s easy to let birds keep their feathers.See PETA Approved Vegan alternatives here