In this Our Changing Climate environmental video essay, I look at whether or not you should buy a Canada Goose jacket. Specifically, I investigate the animal ethics of Canada Goose, trying to figure out whether they actually source their goose down and coyote fur from ethical sources. Ultimately, Canada Goose’s really high price tag and cost combined with they shakey transparency on sourcing from animals might mean not buying a Canada Goose Jacket.
Transcript provided by YouTube:
If you live in a cold winter city like me, you’ve probably already encountered them.
Black, marshmallow-like jackets, with fur-lined hoods and shoulders accented by an iconic
patch. Canada goose parkas. Canada Goose was born in the 1950s and originally sought to
shelter workers and mountaineers from sub-zero environments. But, it has recently transformed
into a luxury brand worn everywhere from urban business districts to the red carpet of the
Sundance film festival. That’s probably because these jackets aren’t easy on the
wallet. The classic Canada Goose Expedition Parka retails for 1,050 dollars and their
most expensive jacket costs 1,695 dollars. And now Canada Goose is exploding in popularity.
The company’s revenue has grown 77% in the last three years. Considering this sharp rise,
I want to assess how ethical Canada Goose is as a company, specifically in terms of
animal welfare, as well as try to help potential consumers decide whether it’s worth it to
buy a Canada Goose jacket.
The impact of Canada Goose can be broken down into two main animal ethics issues: Goose
Down and Coyote Fur. The company’s sourcing of down feathers and coyote fur has become
a particular flashpoint for animal rights activists, and as the popularity of Canada
Goose jackets has grown, so too has the backlash against it, which is primarily spearheaded
by animal-rights group Peta. Because there are so few third-parties that act as watchdogs
for outdoor gear companies, it’s often hard to sort out truth from fiction when it comes
to accurate information about how materials are sourced. So, let’s dive into how Canada
Goose obtains each of these animal products and try to understand whether it’s actually
an ethical company as it claims.
First, let’s start with down feathers. Canada Goose stuffs the majority of their jackets
with Hutterite Goose down, which they claim is much better than synthetic down because
it doesn’t freeze at extremely low temperatures. But in order to understand why this is such
a contentious process, we need to understand how feathers are often harvested. In general,
down is collected either through live-plucking a goose or defeathering it after death. Canada
Goose claims that they require all of their suppliers to certify that their down comes
as a by-product of the poultry industry and has not come from live-plucked or force-fed
birds for foie gras. They back this claim up, with a self-created Canada Goose Down
Transparency Standard™ and use the third party auditor, International Down and Feather
Testing Laboratory, to conduct regular inspections on their supply chain. That being said, Peta
has characterized these standards as mere posturing. Instead, they claim that animal
cruelty still exists in Canada Goose’s supply chain, pointing to a video captured by a Peta
reporter at James Valley Colony Farms, a Canada Goose supplier, where Goose farmers trampled
over geese, pushed them into cramped cages, and piled them on top of each other so they
couldn’t breathe. Canada Goose has since claimed that James Valley Colony Farms is
not one of their suppliers, despite the farm appearing in a Canada Goose ad about the company’s
down transparency policies.
Fur has also been a big stain on Canada Goose’s ethical track record. Currently, Canada Goose
lines the hood of its iconic Expedition jacket with wild coyote fur. Once again, Canada Goose
touts its transparency when it comes to the trappers it relies on for coyote fur, claiming
that all their trappers catch coyotes as sustainably and humanely as they can. Emphasizing that
the trappers they source from adhere strictly to local government trapping regulations.
But in an interview in The Dodo, former CEO of animal rights group Born Free USA, Prashant
Khetan, says this doesn’t mean much. The places where coyote trapping is most common
in the United States, like Wyoming or Alaska, have few restrictions, allowing trappers to
use the especially brutal steel leghold traps, as well as not requiring trappers to check
traps regularly. This can lead to wild coyotes lying alive in traps for days, with snapped
legs, unable to move and eat. But proponents of trapping often point to it as a necessity
in the face of growing coyote populations that prey on livestock and sometimes even
dogs. So for both the goose down and coyote fur, Canada Goose’s supply chain seems far
Regardless of your stance on Canada Goose’s practices surrounding animals, the combination
of a ridiculously high price tag and shaky ethical practices points towards leaving that
brand new jacket on the shelf. When all is said and done, I don’t think you should
buy a new Canada Goose jacket. There are lots of other durable, warm jackets on the market!
If you do really want to experience the warm hug of a Canada Goose jacket, I’d instead
urge you to buy used. You’ll not only save money, but you’ll also divert clothing waste
from the landfill and avoid putting money into Canada Goose’s brand.
If you’ve been trying to find a sustainable way to get a pair of jeans or even a used
Canada Goose jacket than I’d highly recommend checking out this video’s sponsor: Bunz.
Bunz is a community-based app that helps people trade for things like clothing, furniture,
houseplants, and art. It not only allows you to find like-minded people in your area, but
it also facilitates a rich trading market where you can swap that brand new sweater
you’ve never worn for that pair of overalls you’ve always wanted. That’s right, you
don’t need money to join the thousands of users on Bunz, you just need to trade. If
you download the app and it isn’t active in your area, be a leader! Post a few items,
invite some of your friends and watch your community grow. So if you want to escape the
need to always buy new, find a new eco-minded marketplace, or just want to declutter without
throwing your stuff in the trash, then check out the link in the description to download
the Bunz app for free.
Hey everyone! Charlie here. This video was also made possible by all the people who support
me on Patreon. If you want to join their awesome ranks and help this channel grow, head on
over to patreon where you can grab a resource guide or some secret video essays. Thanks
so much for your support, and I’ll see you in two weeks.
This post was previously published on YouTube.
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