The Responsible Down Standard safeguards the welfare of geese and ducks that provide down and feathers for the products we all love.
The Responsible Down Standard aims to ensure that down and feathers come from animals that have not been subjected to an unnecessary harm. The goal to achieve is that the standard can be used to reward and influence the down and feather industry to incentivize practices that respect the humane treatment of ducks and geese. Education –through the RDS- is a meaningful way to drive demand for strong animal welfare practices. The standard also provides companies and consumers with a tool to know what is in their products, and to make accurate claims.
What is the RDS?
The Responsible Down Standard is an independent, voluntary global standard, which means that companies can choose to certify their products to the RDS, even if there is no legislation requiring them to do so. The standard recognizes and rewards the best practices in animal welfare.
How does the RDS work?
When a brand chooses to use the RDS, a number of things happen:
1. The brand talks to their suppliers to get a clear picture of their down supply chain.
2. The certification process involves two steps:
- On-site audit: an inspector visits a factory or company, does a visual inspection, checks documents and procedures, and interviews staff and workers.
- Certification decision: the audit report is sent to a certifier who will review all the results, and decide whether the company is issued certification or not.
3. On farms and slaughterhouses the Certification Body checks the well being of the animals.
4. At factories and manufacturers the Certification Body checks the RDS materials that enter and leave a factory to make sure they are properly identified.
Basic facts to know on Down and Feathers
- Down consists of clusters of filaments growing from a central point without a quill shaft. It’s the light, fluffy undercoating that geese, ducks, and other waterfowl have to keep them warm.
- Feathers have an entirely different structure from down: they have a hard quill shaft running from one end to the other with a series of fibers joining together into a flat structure on each side of the shaft.
- The primary purpose in raising ducks and geese is for their meat, which is why the main production areas are China, Hungary, Ukraine and Poland, where duck and goose meat are popular menu items. RDS down and features are harvested from the birds only after they have been slaughtered.