World’s Largest Tea Maker Ends All Tea Tests On Animals Following PETA Meeting

For Immediate Release:
1 February 2011

Benazir Suraiya; [email protected]
Sachin Bangera; [email protected]

Mumbai – Only days before PETA and its international affiliates were set to launch international campaigns against the world’s largest tea maker, Unilever, the company has announced an immediate worldwide end to any non-required tests on animals for tea and tea ingredients – for health claims or any other reason. Unilever sells Lipton and Brooke Bond brand teas via its subsidiary Hindustan Unilever Ltd in India. Unilever’s decision follows appeals to the company by more than 40,000 members of PETA and its international affiliates as well as a meeting with executives from PETA and its affiliates in the UK, Germany and North America. During the meeting, Unilever was advised of imminent global “Lipton CruelTEA” campaigns by PETA and its affiliates, and representatives gave the company’s executives a glimpse at PETA US’ planned campaign website, which contains hard facts about painful experiments on pigs, rabbits and rats as well as parodies of the tea brands’ labels. As a result, Lipton has posted its new policy on its website stating, “Unilever is committing to no animal testing for our tea and tea-based beverages, with immediate effect”.

“Lipton’s decision means that the company will no longer harm live pigs or behead rabbits”, says PETA India Founder Ingrid E Newkirk, who notes that among PETA and its affiliates’ cancelled actions were a campaign launch protest in Delhi followed by protests around India, a massive “tea dump” in Boston, Massachusetts, and other protests around the world. “We thank the company for listening to tea-drinkers’ concerns for animals and stopping such cruel tests.”

Lipton has funded experiments in which piglets were infected with E. coli and had their intestines cut apart while they were still alive, mice were killed by suffocation or neck-breaking, rabbits were decapitated and rats were brain-damaged. These tests were not required by law, and US and European regulators only allow food and beverage health claims based on human studies. 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.

Lipton joins many other major beverage companies – including the world’s number one green-tea maker, ITO EN, and Typhoo (which is owned by Apeejay Surrendra Group) – that have ended or pledged not to conduct tests on animals. The only exception to the new policy would be the rare occasions in which a foreign government, such as China, or a federal agency that doesn’t recognise the non-animal methods in use in the EU and US were to require animal tests.

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