PETA announced recently that their campaign focused on Unilever, the maker of Lipton Teas, has caused them to cease testing on animals. PETA said Unilever was doing lab tests on piglets, rabbits, rats and mice for various research studies.
An official statement from Unilever said, “Given the leadership role our tea category takes in the area of environmental sustainability and the ethical sourcing of tea, Unilever is committing to no animal testing for our tea and tea-based beverages, with immediate effect.” (Source: Google News)
According to PETA, rabbits used by Unilever were fed high-fat and -cholesterol diets and tea to see if the tea protected their arteries. It didn’t and the rabbits were euthanized. Mice were used to see if tea would decrease a deliberately created inflammation of their bowels. The tea didn’t help them though. The mice were also euthanized. Testing was also done using rats and piglets, with different kinds of suffering inflicted upon them to test for health benefits from tea. None of these tests were required by regulators, they were only conducted to see if there were any health benefits the company could claim for their tea products.
As Forbes wrote several months ago, “Foods masquerading as drugs have become a multi-billion dollar business. Big food companies are funding clinical research in order to justify health claims often deliberately vague, that blur the line between nutrition and medicine. There is everything from water with all sorts of strange vitamins and supplements to yogurts with special added bacteria.” (Source: Forbes.com)
PETA had similar success in 2010 when the world’s largest maker of green tea, a Japanese company, decided to stop testing on animals.
To find cruelty-free companies and products, check out PETA’s searchable database.
Image Credit: David Monniaux