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Four Paws Launches Web Tool to Fight Animal Cruelty in Down Sourcing

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Four Paws, an international animal welfare organization, launched a unique online web tool to show consumers how some of the world’s biggest outdoor clothing and equipment brands treat the animals they use for their products. In particular, the movement, which Four Paws titled, “Cruelty Free Down Challenge,” is encouraging companies to follow stricter guidelines on sourcing down feathers.

On the Four Paws website, the organization said, “Down is a prized commodity for the outdoor equipment industry. Every year, hundreds of tonnes of it are processed, from millions of ducks and geese.” It added, “Many outdoor equipment manufacturers state that the feathers they use come only from birds that were reared and killed for meat, and that were only plucked after slaughter. However, there is often very little traceability within the supply lines of these companies.”

The “Cruelty Free Down Challenge” shows the traceability of down products. Four Paws has worked with a handful of outdoor brands, many of which have started to make the supply chain of their sourced down both traceable and transparent.

On the “Cruelty Free Down Challenge” website, companies are placed at different levels on a symbolic mountain based in the quality of the down traceability standards. Five steps must be fulfilled to reach the summit, and as a company satisfies the next criterion, it can move up the mountain. Once reaching the summit, the brand can prove as far as possible that their down did not come from live-plucked or force-fed birds.

Four Paws is inviting top outdoor brands like Vango, Kathmandu, Fjällräven, Jack Wolfskin, Mammut, Mountain Equipment, Vaude, The North Face and Patagonia to take on the traceability challenge. The group continues to fight animal cruelty beyond the challenge with an online petition, which can be signed on their website.

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