P&G HALTS NON-LEGALLY MANDATED ANIMAL TESTS
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1999:
CINCINNATI––Passing another milestone in a 15-
year drive to develop and implement alternatives to animal testing,
Procter & Gamble spokespersons Mindy Patton and Amy
Neltner announced on June 30 that the company “will end the
use of animal tests for current beauty, fabric, home care, and
paper products, except where required by law. This announcement
covers roughly 80% of P&G’s total product portfolio,”
Patton and Neltner specified. This decision is effective immediately”
in all 140 nations where P&G operates.”
Added P&G vice president of global product safety
Larry Games, “Science and technology have advanced to the
point where we can confirm the safety of these finished products
through non-animal alternatives,” chiefly developed within
P&G’s own laboratories.
P&G pledged in 1984 to phase out animal testing as
fast as alternatives could be developed and win regulatory
approval, after negotiations with the late Henry Spira, founder
of Animal Rights International.
As P&G was signing the agreement with Spira, word
of it somehow leaked out to PETA, Animal Liberation author
Peter Singer recounts in his 1998 biography of Spira, Ethics
Into Action––and PETA declared a last-minute boycott, trying
to claim a piece of the “victory.” P&G ignored PETA. The
boycott continues, supported by the Humane Society of the
U.S. until 1997, when HSUS accepted P&G grant funding,
andby In Defense of Animals since 1989.
By mid-1989, the boycott had irritated then-P&G
chairman John Smale so much that he dashed off a three-page
memo proposing a $17 million campaign to discredit the animal
rights movement. Someone leaked it almost immediately to
Spira, who shared it with ANIMAL PEOPLE editor Merritt
Clifton and publisher Kim Bartlett, and also leaked it to the
Cincinnati Inquirer. Promptly publicized, Smale’s idea got no
farther than his own office. Smale himself was removed from
that office soon afterward, and now works for General Motors.
Notwithstanding P&G’s prompt action to ensure that
Smale’s notion died, In Defense of Animals has contended in
mailings ever since that P&G did wage such a campaign.
Actually, it was former U.S. Surgical owner Leon Hirsch who
did something similar, setting up Americans for Medical
Progress––and literally less than an hour after the formation of
AMP was announced, P&G issued a statement disassociating
itself from having any part in it.
The chief effect of the anti-P&G campaign has been
to convince six of P&G’s seven biggest competitors in the pharmaceutical
and consumer products manufacturing fields to do
effectively nothing to reduce animal use. Johnson & Johnson
has a serious animal use reduction program, but on a much
smaller scale than P&G. American Home Products, Bayer AG,
SmithKline Beckman, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Schering-Plough,
and Upjohn, according to the best available data, have always
used more animals than P&G ever did.
Since reaching the agreement with Spira, “P&G has
invested nearly $100 million in the study and development of
alternative research methods,” Patton and Neltner said.
During the first 10 years of the P&G animal testing
phase-out, P&G use of species tracked under the U.S. Animal
Welfare Act fell from 13,401 to 4,582, and total animal use
dropped from circa 75,000 to about 35,000. By 1994 P&G had
already almost eliminated animal testing of non-pharmaceutical
products except as part of validation studies to confirm the efficacy
of non-animal testing methods to the satisfaction of regulators.
The June 30 announcement signifies that the validation
process for tests of non-pharmaceutical products is now also
essentially complete, unless regulators impose new testing standards
applicable to new product lines.