The giant conglomerate Unilever, which makes Lipton tea and PG Tips, has pledged to stop testing tea on animals.
Why would they be testing in the first place? It’s not that tea is bad for you; it’s that Unilever wanted to be able to claim that tea is extra good for certain health conditions.
So they were doing things like infecting piglets with E. coli, then feeding them tea, and then having their intestines cut apart while they are still alive. Rabbits were fed a high-cholesterol diet to harden their arteries, then made to drink tea, then killed and had their heads cut off to see the effect on their arteries. Mice were bred to suffer from bowel inflammation, fed tea, then killed in cruel ways.
All of this was so that Unilever could come up with results that could be advertised in order to persuade us all to buy more tea.
The campaign to stop these tests was launched by the animal right group PETA. Supporters bombarded Unilever with 40,000 e-mails, and then animal protection groups sent representatives to London from India (where much of the tea is grown) and Europe to meet with the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate.
After the discussions, Unilever issued a statement saying:
“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.”