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CFDIA refuting Swedish TV coverage of live-plucking down products
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13:20, February 10, 2009

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China Feather & Down Industrial Association (CFDIA) refutes the controversial TV reporting by Swedish TV-4, the largest commercial television channel in Sweden, that some 50% to 80% of down products manufactured in China are stuffed with feather plucked from live birds.

The documentary, “Cold Facts”, exposed to the public the brutality being echoed by the animal rights groups calling for a halt to the cruel practice and a boycott of down and feather products from China. Such move has resulted in the sharp decline of Chinese-exported down products.

The documentary has also fueled public feelings, with criticism centered around live-plucking water foul and animal abuse. The programme also published a black list of companies accused of live-plucking poultry, which involved 16 Chinese down suppliers. Among them, 13 were CFDIA members.

“There is no shortage of ducks and geese in China, and we don’t need to amass feather and down from live birds. Feather and down processing in China is mainly a kind of by-product of food industry. Of all made-in-China down products, only one to three percent are found to be stuffed with live-plucking materials, all in line with the demands of Japanese clients,” said Yao Xiaoman, Vice Chairperson of CFDIA on Feb, 9.

“The Swedish reports aired one week ago called on people in Europe to stop buying down products, which greatly affected China's export and consumption. Europe is China’s one of the major market and raw material and finished products from China account for 80 percent of the world’s total, ” noted Wilford Lieber, President of the International Down and Feather Laboratory (IDFL).

“We also condemn the practice of live-plucking, but it is hard for us to remain silent over the false reporting by TV-4. China’s down industry profited a total of 1.92 billion US dollars in 2007, and the exports included down jackets, pillows, bedding, sleeping bags. Chinese suppliers suffered a sharp decline of orders right after the false TV coverage, particularly at this crucial moment of economic slowdown. I called the suppliers blacklisted by TV-4, but none of them told me they had practiced live-plucking. It is unfair on those alleged Chinese down manufacturers,” added Yao.

According to CFDIA statistics, 90 percent of down and feather are from ducks, while the remaining ten percent from geese. In the much smaller share of geese feather, only one to three percent could be collected through “live plucking"on the demand of Japanese clients, which, however, accounts for merely 0.1 to 0.3 percent of the total Chinese down production.

Lieber said down and feather are the most environment-friendly materials used for producing outdoor equipment, considering their advantages of light weight, compressibility and heat retention. China has the latest techniques and facilities for the industry.

Yao added that CFDIA is willing to work with Swedish TV 4 and animal protection groups to conduct a new round of investigation into the issue, and assure all the consumers that the down and feather products will be from reliable sources.

By People's Daily Online

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