Over the past couple of years puffer jackets have taken over Australian winters.
They’re everywhere – on public transport, at Saturday sport, and on the racks of nearly every Australian retailer.
But our beloved puffer jackets come at a price. As the ABC’s James Valentine recently discovered, most of the affordable, fast-fashion puffer jackets are actually filled with live-plucked geese or duck down.
Yep, that process is as horrendous as it sounds.
As PETA explains on their website, live-plucking is exactly that – the feathers and down are plucked from the goose or chicken while it’s alive. The bird is then placed back in its cage to regrow the feathers and the process is repeated about four times a year.
In his article, Valentine explains a single harvest from a single bird yields about 60 grams of down.
“Last year Japan alone imported 6,000 tonnes of down. A tonne is a million grams,” he writes.
So it’s easy to see why so many unethically-sourced puffer jackets have flooded the Australian retail market in recent years.
Luckily, there is a way to stay warm in winter and steer clear of unethically-sourced down. The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) established the Traceable Down Standard, while Textile Exchange created the Responsible Down Standard.
Both initiatives help consumers find out more information about the down products they’re purchasing and whether they are sourced in an ethically and cruelty-free manner.
If a retailer doesn’t state they’re using responsibly-sourced down and doesn’t align themselves with either the Responsible Down Standard or the Traceable Down Standard, they’re most likely using live-plucked down.
Price is also a good indication, the cheaper the jacket the more likely it contains live-plucked down. While responsibly sourced down products may cost you more upfront, they’re a great long-term investment for yourself and for our planet.
The following Australian retailers sell ethically and responsibly sourced puffer jackets:
The North Face
The North Face uses 100 per cent certified responsible goose down in all of their down products including puffer jackets and vests and they adhere to the Responsible Down Standard. The Women’s Thermoball Full-Zip Jacket retails for $350.