Getting Down With Down Alternatives

By Lori Kalef, SPCAI Staff

There is nothing warm and cozy about cuddling with a blanket or wearing a jacket made from down.  

While not every company uses the 'live plucking' method, a very large percentage does, the better part originating from China (80%).  The typical process of plucking feathers is excruciatingly painful for geese and ducks.  The birds are live-plucked for the first time at about ten weeks old, and are plucked again four to six times a year until they are sent to slaughter at about four years old.  The workers hoist them up by their necks, their legs get tied, and their feathers are pulled out in large chunks in a process that the industry refers to as "ripping"; the birds struggle and panic, sometimes even breaking limbs in an attempt to escape. 

Luckily you can help eradicate this trade by not purchasing anything made from down and in this day and age there are so many warm and stylish alternatives! One of the most common down alternatives is the use of blown fibers and fiber balls. These fibers are blown inside the garment in a very similar manner to how down feathers are added. These down alternatives provide an entirely similar degree of softness and warmth similar as that of down. You often can’t tell the difference, and you might even prefer the alternative in a blind test.

One stand-out down alternative brand called “Save the Duck” is a smart and ethical company that looks to the future, not just to capture the new trends, but to strive for a shared objective: living in a totally animal-cruelty-free world. Their products are 100% animal free and do not utilize feathers, leather, hide or fur.

On Outside Online you can find a comprehensive list of down alternative outerwear, check out it out!