New Poll Reveals Down Is Out With Outdoor Enthusiasts

Published by Heather Moore.

Geese Plucked for Down OutsideCopyright Friedrich Mülln

A new poll, which was commissioned by PETA, shows that a vast majority—80 percent—of outdoor sports enthusiasts are happy to choose products with synthetic insulation rather than duck or goose down and would shop at stores that don’t offer any down products.

The number rose to 88 percent after respondents were informed that down is sometimes obtained from birds who are force-fed for foie gras, in addition to the birds who are pinned down and have their feathers ripped out while they are still alive.

Similarly, after reading a description of the down industry, 82 percent of these outdoor enthusiasts said that they are likely to choose synthetics over down. Even prior to reading the description, 81 percent said that synthetic insulation works as well as down.

The poll results reflect the current industry trend: The Coleman Company, Inc., the world’s leading outdoor gear manufacturer, agreed never to use down again after being contacted by PETA. Modern synthetic materials, such as The North Face’s new Thermoball technology—which is constructed with low-weight, individual high-loft clusters that mimic down and offers the best warmth-to-weight ratio of any synthetic on the market—are light, packable, machine-washable, and animal-friendly. They also keep their insulating power even when wet. This year, one totally synthetic jacket—Outdoor Research’s Halogen jacket—earned Outside magazine’s prestigious Gear of the Year Award.

It’s easier than ever to be kind when skiing, camping, or backpacking. When you’re gearing up for your next outdoor adventure, choose synthetic fibers that can withstand the elements and won’t cause birds to suffer.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind