Iams, which has been targeted by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals over conditions at testing labs it contracts to, announced in October that within two years it would end all testing contracts without outside laboratories. Instead, the pet food company will more than double its own animal testing facilities from 350 cats and dogs to more than 800 cats and dogs by the end of 2005.
That represents a victory of sorts for PETA which had included among its demands that Iams end all contracted animal testing, but its a bit of a pyrrhic one. The animal rights organization had been able to gain a lot of publicity on the backs of the contracted labs, especially when Iams ended up funding an animal welfare specialist at a Missouri lab who turned out to be a PETA mole. Now that Iams is essentially going to do the same amount of testing internally, it should prove more difficult for PETA to get those attention grabbing headlines.
PETA’s Mary Beth Sweetland said of the change,
I think Iams has to prove itself to us. Yes, this is part of what PETA wants. But that said, Iams has lied to us in the past. The question is, is Iams going to commit to ending testing on all animals? The expansion of that Dayton facility means more testing.
PETA sponsored a resolution at the annual shareholder meeting of Procter & Gamble, which owns Iams, calling on Iams to end all animal testing, but the measure was overwhelmingly defeated.
PETA’s Allison Ezell told the Cincinnati Enquirer, “P&G should make Iams move out of the laboratory completely, because it’s the right thing to do.”
Iams division to change animal testing practices. Associated Press, October 7, 2004.
Iams bringing animal tests inside. Cliff Peale, Cincinnati Enquirer, October 7, 2004.
Lafley to stockholders: Few problems at P&G. Cliff Peale, Cincinnati Enquirer, October 13, 2004.
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