North Face Under Fire for Using Down from Foie Gras Geese


As McDonald’s looks to buff up its brand perception by responding to critics of its animal products sourcing, another US-based brand is under fire for its sourcing of animal products. 

The North Face outdoor apparel brand confirmed to the Telegraph in London that it purchases goose down feathers from California’s Allied Feather & Down, the world’s leading supplier of down to the garment industry — which primarily sources its down feathers from foie gras producers in Hungary, who force-feed geese in a process deemed cruel by animal rights activists.

A North Face rep didn’t deny knowledge of the source, tellng the Telegraph reporter, “All of the down we are supplied by Allied Feather is a by-product of the food industry which, as the largest purchaser of goose product, drives the practice of force-feeding. We are working with our partners to identify alternative long-term sources of goose down that is not a by-product of force-feeding.”[more]

The brand hasn’t responded to comments on Twitter and Facebook about the issue, although its website (oddly) states, “We test on humans” — a veiled response to the animal rights brigade?

A spokesman for PETA, which targets foie gras sellers, commented: “There can be no justification for inflicting this kind of suffering when warm, cruelty-free synthetics are widely available.”

Patagonia, which also uses the embattled down supplier, sent its executives to Hungary at the request of animal rights groups to see the farms where the down was being plucked. It’s also searching for an alternative supplier to Allied Feather, which sells down to other brands including Eddie Bauer, Helly Hansen and The Company Store, according to its website, which lists its bluesign-approved commitment to sustainable practices (but not cruelty-free).

Below, a concerned comment posted on North Face’s Facebook page: