For too many years, one thing stopped animal-loving adventurers from reaching for Kathmandu’s well-known Heli jacket: the fact that it was filled with feathers.
Happily, those seeking lightweight warmth without sacrificing their ethics can now rejoice – a new version of the Heli has just dropped, and in addition to being lightweight and super-snug, it carries the “PETA-Approved Vegan” logo!
Made with 100% polyester and recycled polyester and featuring bluesign-approved synthetic Thermore Ecodown, the new and improved Heli is as warm as a down jacket without harming birds. It’s also water repellent, and as part of Kathmandu’s Pack&GO series, it’s easy to transport. It even dries faster and is easier to care for than a down jacket.
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% 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 with geese – and they’re bled, the birds are scalded to death to facilitate the removal of large feathers. Sometimes, they’re still conscious when they’re dumped into the tanks of scalding-hot water.
Sadly, many producers and brands still promote 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.
Kathmandu’s dedication to developing down-free clothing is a great move towards meeting the growing consumer demand for animal-free fabrics, and with great options such as the new Heli proving that we don’t need down to stay warm, it’s easy to let birds keep their feathers.