Action Centre

PETA Victory: PG tips Abandons Animal Testing

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Following tens of thousands of e-mails sent by supporters of PETA affiliates worldwide and a top-level meeting between PETA and its executives, Unilever – the company that makes PG tips, Lipton and Lyons tea – has announced a permanent, worldwide end to all animal testing for tea that is not required by law. PETA had taken on the multinational after uncovering animal tests on tea that it had conducted or funded for more than a decade. As a result of the company's decision, piglets will no longer have their intestines cut apart while they are still alive and rabbits won't be beheaded in pointless experiments designed to support health claims – tests conducted even though no regulatory authorities in the US or EU required them.

Unilever is the world's largest tea company, and PG tips is the second biggest tea brand in the UK. PETA and its affiliates were set to launch international campaigns against the company, but following the meeting in London in January, Unilever announced an immediate worldwide end to any non-required tests on animals for tea and tea ingredients, for health claims or any other reason. All the testing that PETA had uncovered is now banned, including the following:

  • Rabbits were fed a high-fat, cholesterol-laden diet, leading to extreme hardening of the arteries. They were then fed tea to see if it could reduce the lesions that had formed on the animals' arteries. After the experiment, the rabbits' heads were cut off.

  • Mice bred to suffer from a painful bowel inflammation were fed tea ingredients in order to see if the tea had any effect on their condition. After the test, experimenters killed the mice by suffocating them or breaking their necks.

  • Rats were forced to eat a high-sugar diet, and then tea was given to the animals to see if it could protect against sugar-induced brain damage. Other rats had their abdominal wall punctured and were fed radioactively labelled tea ingredients through a tube in their stomach in order to examine the absorption of tea in the body. Then they were killed, frozen with liquid nitrogen and crushed.

  • Piglets were infected with E. coli and had tea solutions put in their intestines in order to see how the solutions affected the animals' fluids and electrolytes. As part of the tests, experimenters cut the pigs' intestines apart while the animals were still alive. All the piglets were killed afterward.

In making this decision, PG tips joins other companies that do not conduct animal tests on tea, including Twinings, Typhoo, Tesco, Tetley and the world's largest green-tea maker, Japan's ITO-EN. The only rare exception to this policy may occur when foreign governments require safety testing of tea products before they can be sold – testing that is not required in the EU or US. Modern in vitro and safe human-based testing methods are more effective than experiments on animals because of the vast physiological differences between humans and other animals.

PETA's campaigns have exposed the suffering of animals in laboratories time and time again and have led to multinational companies, national governments and international regulators changing their policies. As a result, millions of animals have been spared suffering in cruel and archaic experiments.

You can keep the pressure on those responsible for these cruel tests by signing the pledge below and joining the thousands of caring consumers who choose products that are not tested on animals.

Sign the Pledge

Testing on animals is cruel and unnecessary. By signing this pledge, I commit to choose products that are not tested on animals and not to support companies that abuse animals.


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