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REI continues to sell products with the meaningless Responsible Down Standard (RDS) tag and to claim that the birds used for the down jackets it sells are “treated well,” despite a new PETA Asia investigation exposing cruelty to birds at RDS suppliers.
At a slaughterhouse that supplies down for Vina Prauden—a Vietnamese “responsible down”–certified supplier—PETA Asia investigators saw a worker violently grabbing ducks and forcing their legs into shackles before dragging them through an electrified water bath meant to paralyze them but not render them unconscious, as is required by the standard. Then a worker slit the ducks’ throats while they were still conscious, and ducks were seen moving for at least a minute afterward. The slaughterhouse owner told investigators that her employees never check for signs of consciousness before stabbing ducks in the neck to kill them.
PETA entities have released eight exposés of the down industry, uncovering overwhelming evidence that cruelty runs rampant in the industry and that the RDS doesn’t protect birds from abuse.
Ducks are highly social and outgoing animals who thrive when they’re with their families and friends. Scientists have reported that ducks even have regional accents, just like humans. Geese are loyal and protective, mate for life, and refuse to leave the side of a sick or injured mate or chick. When a goose’s mate dies, the survivor mourns in seclusion—some spend the rest of their lives as widows or widowers, refusing to mate again.
Every down-filled jacket in REI’s stock represents the pain and fear of gentle birds who didn’t want to suffer and die.
The RDS is a veil of false assurances about animal welfare that do little or nothing to protect the animals who continue to be exploited and killed for profit. No one needs to buy down clothing or outdoor recreation products when various high-performance vegan materials are widely available—and REI already sells many of them.
The best way to protect ducks and geese from this heinous cruelty is to stop buying down. Please contact REI (and mention if you’re a member!) to ask that it stop selling all down products.