For Immediate Release:
June 28, 2023
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
San Francisco – At RH’s annual meeting tomorrow, PETA will rally shareholders to vote for its resolution calling on the company to commission a report on the welfare of the birds in its down supply chain. PETA wants the company to take this step because it continues to pay lip service to supposed animal welfare standards while providing no transparency about its monitoring process.
In the past year alone, PETA entities have released exposés of facilities in Russia, Vietnam, and Poland, three of the world’s largest down exporters, confirming systemic cruelty, gross lapses in oversight, and multiple violations of the industry’s already minimal standards. On purportedly “responsibly certified” farms, screaming geese were slaughtered by workers who stretched the birds’ necks out across a stump, then repeatedly hacked at them with a dull axe.
“Filth, fear, and violence are inherent in the down industry,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is rallying RH shareholders to demand transparency in how birds are treated and killed for the decorative pillows RH sells—and calling on everyone to steer clear of down products.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s shareholder statement follows.
RH has identified responsible sourcing and vendor compliance as a key component of its ESG programs. Hence, it requires its vendors to conduct their sourcing “in compliance with local and internationally recognized laws with respect to animal welfare.” In addition, RH has pledged to “monitor certain animal and natural products such as those made with down feathers” in an effort to obtain down and feathers from “ethical and humane sources.” Nevertheless, RH provides no transparency regarding its monitoring process and, specifically, whether its monitoring has confirmed vendor compliance with animal welfare laws or what is done when a vendor is found engaging in practices that are noncompliant.
In the past year, PETA entities have released exposés of facilities in Russia, Vietnam, and Poland, three of the world’s largest down exporters. These investigations confirm that atrocious cruelty, gross lapses in oversight, and multiple violations of industry standards and both local and international laws are rampant in the down industry.
On so-called “responsibly certified” farms, sick and injured ducks languished in crowded and filthy lots. Shrieking and terrified geese were slaughtered on site by workers who stretched the birds’ necks out across a stump, then repeatedly hacked at them—as many as seven times before decapitation was complete—with a dull axe.
Inadequate stunning at multiple slaughterhouses caused immense and prolonged suffering to ducks who were left hanging upside down from leg shackles, some flapping wildly as they slowly bled to death after being slashed or stabbed in the neck.
No attempt was made to stun birds killed in homes that doubled as slaughterhouses, where a worker pierced ducks’ necks with a knife and cut off their legs as they continued to struggle.
In Poland, where such forms of cruelty appear to violate the European Convention for the Protection of Animals for Slaughter and Poland’s Animal Protection Act 1997, this abuse has been reported to a public prosecutor. In Vietnam, where this inhumane treatment of birds violates the country’s Law on Animal Husbandry 2018, a complaint has been submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Companies must now contend with disrupted supply chains and tarnished reputations in the wake of these revelations. It is abundantly clear that RH cannot depend on third-party audits, industry regulators, or government bodies to ensure that our company sources down in a manner consistent with its publicly stated values and pledges.