Tag Archives: animal rights

Lipton Tea and Animal Experimentation

I neevverr would have thought that they would use tea to experiment on animals.

You can choose to eat animals, that’s your business, but to give rabbits high cholesterol, E Coli, and bowel inflammation just to see if massive amounts of tea help (and it doesn’t) is a little sadistic.


Check out these sites for help in choosing products that don’t harm or include animal ingredients.

Skin Deep – a cosmetic database where you can see what chemicals are in your makeup, sun screen, nail polish, etc., and what products use animal testing

PETA – use this website to search of cruelty free companies and products; they also have a list of commonly used animal ingredients and alternatives

Leaping Bunny – look for the leaping bunny logo to assure you are buying cruelty free products; check out this database for cruelty free household cleaning products, animal care products, and personal care products


On to the news…


Info from Michelle Hodkin’s How Many Animals Have Died for Your…Tea? and  Victory! Unilever Commits to Ending Animal Experimentation for Tea from Change.org

…as of this month, Lipton’s parent company, Unilever, issued a press release, stating that it is “committing to no animal testing for our tea and tea-based beverages, with immediate effect.”

The company says the commitment is part of their “leadership” in environmental sustainability and ethical sourcing of their teas, but the announcement comes after a December report from the United Kingdom’s People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA UK), stating that tea companies PG tips, Lipton and Lyons had been testing their products on animals in some pretty gruesome experiments that were decidedly not “100% natural.”

PETA UK claimed that rabbits were fed a diet high in fat to increase cholesterol levels to harden their arteries before they were fed tea in their water, to demonstrate that if the levels decreased, they could market their product as having health benefits. Mice were bred with severe bowel inflammation problems, and then fed tea to see if it helped. And piglets were infected with E. Coli, to give them diarrhea, and test whether ingesting tea might provide them “health benefits,” too.

Twinings, however, verified that it doesn’t use animal products or employ animal testing in the making of its products. So if you’re interested in certifiably cruelty-free tea, you might want to switch.

If you like their teas, awesome. But if you’re drinking it solely to ensure you don’t die from a heart attack or stroke, you might need a different kind of help.

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China bans animal circuses

I was in China last summer for a few weeks.  Although I didn’t catch any live feeding frenzy circuses, I did remember a bear exhibit at the Great Wall.  That’s right – bears.

As you’re walking to one of the entrances to the Badaling section of the Great Wall, you see all of these people gathered around an in-set bear exhibit.  All along the side are plates of apples and whatnot for sale which you can purchase to use to feed the bears.  While in America someone would purchase a plate and stick their hand out to be eaten so that they can sue for damages, in China there’s not a concept of suing a company or the government for endangerment.

On to the interesting news!



By Malcolm Moore, from The Telegraph

Zoos will have to stop attractions where live chickens, goats, cows and even horses are sold to visitors who can then watch them be torn apart by big cats Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Live animal shows and circuses are hugely popular in China, and draw around 150 million visitors a year at 700 zoos. However, animal rights campaigners have repeatedly complained that the shows should be stopped.

“A zoo in my city had a show where they forced an adult lion to stand on the back of a horse for a sort of animal acrobatic performance,” said Xiao Bing, the chairman of the local animal protection association in the southern city of Xiamen.

“I also saw one entertainment park where the monkeys seemed to have wounds all over their bodies. The manager told me the monkeys got hurt during live monkey-fighting shows,” he said.

Other cases of abuse include beating lions to make them jump through rings of fire and forcing bears to walk across tightropes, said Hua Ning, at the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Chinese circuses have defended their shows, saying that the animals are well fed and that teaching them tricks can help them become “stars”.

However, the Chinese government has now issued a total ban, which came into force on Tuesday across the 300 state-owned zoos which are part of the China Zoo Association.

“We are hopeful it will have an effect,” said David Neale, the Animal Welfare Director at Animals Asia. “I visited Chongqing zoo before Christmas and their circus was clearing out, and Kunming zoo has also said its circus has been closed.”

Other zoos, however, said they had received no notice of the new rules. “We will help police the ban and report any cases we find to the government,” vowed Mr Neale.

The ban will also force zoos to stop selling animal parts in their shops and zoo restaurants will have to stop serving dishes made out of rare animals, another widespread practice.

Similarly, zoos will no longer be able to pull the teeth of baby tigers so that tourists can hold them and will have to stop attractions where live chickens, goats, cows and even horses are sold to visitors who can then watch them be torn apart by big cats.

A spokesman for China’s State Forestry Bureau said a three-month investigation last year had uncovered more than 50 zoos where animals were suffering severely because of abuse.

However, the closure of the shows could push some zoos towards bankruptcy and may leave many animals with an uncertain future. “In some cases, I am not sure where the animals will go,” said Mr Neale.

“In some cases I would recommend euthanasia, since there are animals in a very bad way after a few years of being in these performances.”

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If you give a mouse a footnote…

Today NPR included a short segment on a tiny animal rights poem found in a footnote.  Entitled, “The Mouse’s Petition to Dr. Priestley, Found in the Trap where he had been Confined all Night,” the poem was written by Anna Laetitia Aikin (later Barbauld), the lab assistant to Dr. Joseph Priestley (nicknamed Gunpowder Priestly).  Priestley performed many experiments on mice while researching lung capacity during a time of heightened tuberculosis.

Anna did the dirty work of cleaning up the mouse carcasses and decided to write a poem on behalf of a mouse which would be the subject of the following day’s experiment.  NPR includes a cartoonish version of the poem which I don’t believe does it justice.

That’s just one small bit of the poem.  Here’s the poem in its entirety.  It’s really beautiful, and without these childlike images of mice, it takes on a powerful voice of power, equality, and justice.

Clicking on the page will take you to the website where you can continue reading the poem. It's pretty short - only 12 verses.

The issue of animal rights was far from young (you can learn about the Wiki version of animal rights here), but the issues of rights and freedom were definitely current, as the poem was written in 1773 (think revolutions).  This poem was originally published in poetry collection written by Aikin/Barbauld, and you can read them all online here.  <- That website actually includes several other links to scholarly works and websites on Aikin/Barbauld.

According to this University of Maryland site, the poem was reprinted in The Female Reader, written by feminist author Mary Wollstonecraft, and was a likely source of inspiration for Robert Burns’s “To a Mouse.” If you don’t know Wollstonecraft, you should, because she’s a righteous babe.

And yes, this was all recently rediscovered in a footnote in Richard Holmes’s book The Age of Wonder.

Listen to the NPR story here.

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