The People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said it carried out an investigation into Vietnamese down supplier Vina Prauden where it had found evidence of “violent” animal abuse.
Workers for the supplier, which PETA said provided the material for Gap, H&M, Uniqlo and Lacoste, among other brands, were documented to be violently grabbing ducks before electrocuting them and slitting their throats while they were still conscious.
According to PETA Asia investigators, the slaughterhouse owner confirmed her employees never check for signs of consciousness before killing the ducks.
The organisation further looked into facilities for Nam Vu, a supplier at Guess, where workers were seen chopping the feet off live ducks.
It alleged that much of the down from these facilities was later sold under the ‘Responsible Down Standard’, which it claimed did “nothing to stop suppliers from harming animals”.
In a release, PETA’s executive vice president, Tracy Reiman, said: “Shoppers at H&M, Gap, Guess, and other big-name stores should assume that down in their products came from tortured birds
“PETA Asia has exposed the Responsible Down Standard as a sham that doesn’t protect animals, and we encourage everyone to shun all down in favour of warm and cosy vegan clothing that leaves animals in peace.”
Speaking to WWD, a spokesperson for H&M responded to the allegations stating that the company did not have a direct connection to the supplier in question.
It added: “Animal welfare is very important to us and no animals should be harmed in the production of our products.
“We have a clear ambition level on how we want to improve animal welfare in our supply chain and the textile industry. We also work actively to strengthen the way we source animal deriving materials so that we can ensure the welfare of animals.”
FashionUnited has contacted Textile Exchange, the organisation which operates the Responsible Down Standard, for comment.