Will H&M Ban Down Following PETA US Shareholder Resolution?
London – After a recent PETA Asia investigation into Vina Prauden – a Vietnamese company that previously supplied down to H&M – revealed that ducks’ throats were slit while they were still conscious and that the birds were seen moving for at least one minute afterward, PETA US submitted a shareholder resolution today to H&M Group urging the board of directors to prepare a report on the slaughter methods used to procure down for the company.
The resolution points out that H&M depends on the Textile Exchange’s demonstrably ineffective Responsible Down Standard (RDS) to make claims about animal welfare. But recently, it began removing the RDS label from its online offerings, indicating that it knows the RDS is a sham. H&M provides no information about the farms and slaughterhouses that supply down for its products – completely debunking its own misleading statements that it has prioritised both traceability and transparency across supply chains.
“H&M states that no animals should be harmed for its clothes, so it should take the chance to investigate its supply chain to ensure just that,” says PETA Vice President for Europe, UK and Australia Mimi Bekhechi. “Every down item represents the pain and suffering of terrified birds, and deceptive labels and certifications do nothing except keep consumers in the dark while animals continue to suffer.”
At a slaughterhouse that supplied down to Vina Prauden, PETA Asia investigators documented a worker violently grabbing ducks and forcing their legs into shackles before dragging them through an electrified water bath meant to paralyse them – but the ducks’ throats were slit while they were still conscious. The slaughterhouse owner told investigators that her employees never check for signs of consciousness before slaughtering ducks by stabbing them in the neck.
Previous PETA exposés have repeatedly revealed workers painfully live-plucking ducks and geese, leaving them with bloody, gaping wounds, including on farms connected to purportedly “responsible” companies. On an RDS-certified farm in Russia, PETA Asia documented that terrified geese shrieked as workers stretched their necks out across a stump and then repeatedly hacked at them with a dull axe – as many as seven times – before decapitation was complete.
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear” – opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk or follow the group on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
The full text of the PETA US resolution is below.
Sascha Camilli +44 (0) 20 7923 6244; [email protected]
Given the egregious cruelty to birds and violations of so-called “responsible” animal welfare standards and national laws that are endemic to the down industry, the Board is strongly encouraged to prepare a report on the slaughter methods used to procure down for H&M.
H&M’s animal welfare policy states, “Animal welfare is important to us, and no animals should be harmed in the making of our products.” In an effort to improve its own accountability, H&M claims that it has prioritized both traceability and transparency across supply chains. However, H&M provides no transparency regarding the farms and slaughterhouses that supply down for its products and depends on the Textile Exchange’s demonstrably ineffective Responsible Down Standard (RDS) to make claims about the humane treatment of birds.
PETA entities have released nine exposés of the down industry. In 2022, exposés of facilities in Russia, Vietnam, and Poland – three of the world’s top down exporters – revealed that atrocious cruelty, gross lapses in oversight, and multiple violations of both national laws and so-called “responsible” standards, which H&M boasts on product tags, are rampant in the down industry.
On an RDS-certified farm in Russia, terrified geese shrieked as workers stretched their necks out across a stump and then repeatedly hacked at them with a dull axe – as many as seven times – before decapitation was complete.
At slaughterhouses in Vietnam that are part of the supply chain of RDS-certified down suppliers, faulty stunning baths meant that birds were still conscious when a worker plunged a knife through their necks and left them hanging to bleed out. No attempt was made to stun birds killed in homes that doubled as slaughterhouses – in one, a worker pierced ducks’ necks with a knife and sliced off their legs as they continued to struggle.
In Poland, inadequate stunning 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 across the throat.
This cruelty apparently violates RDS requirements, the European Convention for the Protection of Animals for Slaughter, Vietnam’s Law on Animal Husbandry 2018, and Poland’s Animal Protection Act 1997.
Given the failures in compliance with animal welfare laws across the down industry, it is reasonable for shareholders to demand that H&M provide a report on the slaughter methods used to procure its down in order to ensure that its sourcing complies with all relevant animal welfare laws and standards.
Accordingly, we call on all shareholders to support this financially and ethically responsible resolution.