PETA says Lululemon continues to sell “cruelly produced down”

PETA says Lululemon continues to sell “cruelly produced down”

Lululemon Athletica has defended its position following the release of an animal rights campaign video claiming the Canadian yoga wear brand continues to sell clothing items using "cruelly produced down".

The video, released this week by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), shows the ill treatment of geese in producing down for what it claims is Lululemon's goose down outerwear. It urges the company to switch to "cruelty-free synthetics" such as Thinsulate, Climashield, and PrimaLoft.

"It's high time the company quit stuffing its coats with down feathers and made the progressive switch to animal-friendly synthetics," the animal rights group said. "Geese in the down industry are violently killed for their feathers, and some even have their throats slit while fully conscious and able to feel pain – cruelty that goes directly against the yoga principle of ahimsa, or nonviolence, that many Lululemon shoppers follow."

A spokesperson for PETA, added: "PETA has repeatedly called on Lululemon and Textile Exchange to make their standards transparent by sharing the names of farms and suppliers, but they have refused," a spokesperson for PETA said. "This is because they know that their customers would be horrified to see how these animals are actually raised and killed.

"There is no getting around this fact. Down is a profitable co-product of the meat industry, and retailers who claim to be "responsible" surely shouldn't shirk responsibility for this suffering simply because the birds may also be killed for meat."

A spokesperson for Lululemon, however, told just-style that the down in its products is supplied by Downlite, a company that does not use live-plucked or force-fed geese, but uses down as a by-product of the food industry that would otherwise have been disposed of. 

"We are committed to upholding strong animal welfare practices by working with our vendor to have full visibility into our down sources," the spokesperson explained. "By 2016, we plan to have 100% of our down certified to the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), which provides traceability through the entire supply chain to ensure that our down comes from ethically treated geese."

The latest version of the RDS was launched in March this year by international non-profit organisation Textile Exchange (TE). The third party certification standard, which can be applied to any waterfowl-based supply chain, was developed as part of a joint effort by outdoor wear brand The North Face, Textile Exchange, and Control Union Certifications. It is designed to help companies ensure the down in their products comes from ethically treated geese and can be traced across the supply chain.

As well as The North Face, which has committed to 100% certified and responsibly sourced down across all product lines by 2017, international apparel brands and retailers such as Adidas Group, Black Diamond, Eddie Bauer, H&M, Helly Hansen and Timberland have also pledged to use the standard.

Updated Responsible Down Standard launches