PG Tips maker agrees to halt animal tests on its tea

The maker of PG Tips has agreed to stop testing its teas on animals, after activists threatened to launch a name-and-shame publicity campaign to highlight the company's experiments on rabbits, rats and pigs.

For a decade after Unilever ended its series of PG Tips ads featuring chimpanzees, amid growing unease about animal cruelty, the company has been conducting laboratory experiments aimed at bolstering health claims for tea, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) said.

Experiments included injecting pigs with E. coli bacteria and then seeing if feeding them tea would help to combat the infection. Rabbits were fattened up and rats were given high-sugar diets, with the aim of seeing if tea reduced plaque in their arteries. The animals suffered bowel inflammation or brain damage and were usually destroyed after the experiments, Peta said.

Kathy Guillermo, the campaign group's head of laboratory investigations, said Peta first approached Unilever two years ago, after discovering the extent of its animal testing. But she said the threat of a major publicity campaign pushed the company into talks. Unilever is the world's largest manufacturer of tea, and owns the Lipton brand and others, as well as PG Tips.

Peta drew up website material and billboard posters advocating a boycott of Unilever's brands, under the slogan "Crueltea". It also urged supporters to swamp Unilever with 40,000 emails.

Ms Guillermo said: "The emails were a little taste of what was to come. It proves the power of people around the world." No more piglets will be infected with E. coli and have their intestines cut apart while they are alive, Peta said in a victory statement. "Rabbits' heads won't be cut off, and other cruel tests that involved tormenting and killing animals simply to study the health effects of tea products and ingredients will no longer take place," it added.

Unilever said: "We have an ongoing dialogue with consumers and NGOs (including Peta), and that dialogue suggested to us that we consider whether our position on animal testing was consistent with the leadership role we have taken in other areas such as environmental sustainability and ethical sourcing of tea... We have done a very limited amount of testing of tea ingredients on animals when no other alternative method was available. This will stop now."

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Content Assistant / Copywriter

    £15310 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen for a...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Situated in the heart of Bradfo...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reception Manager

    £18750 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Hotel in Chadderton is a popular ch...

    Guru Careers: Marketing and Communications Manager

    £Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing and Co...

    Day In a Page

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence