PETA’s campaign to convince food and beverage companies to drop animal tests has been gaining momentum, with Welch’s, Ocean Spray, and POM Wonderful agreeing to drop all funding for animal experiments in favor of non-animal test methods. And now food-industry giant PepsiCo—the multibillion-dollar parent company of brands like Pepsi-Cola, Frito-Lay, Tropicana, Quaker Oats, and Gatorade—has joined the ever-growing list of companies that are creating innovative products without using animals in laboratory tests.
Prior to its agreement with PETA, PepsiCo and its partners had funded several experiments on animals:
- The PepsiCo Foundation funded an experiment that involved surgically implanting testosterone pellets and human prostate tumors in mice and injecting them with an acid compound. Two animals died before the end of the study, when all the animals were killed.
- PepsiCo’s partner, Tropicana, funded a student research project that involved injecting 60 young rats with a chemical that causes colon cancer, leaving the majority of these animals to suffer with the disease for seven months, only to be killed at the end of the experiment.
- PepsiCo’s affiliate, the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI), funded an experiment in which mice were infected with a respiratory virus and then forced to exercise on a treadmill for more than two hours for three consecutive days, after which they were all killed.
- The GSSI funded an experiment in which live rats’ hind limbs were cut open from the heel to the knee and their muscle tissue was cut out, after which the animals were killed.
- The GSSI awarded several grants to students to conduct animal experiments, such as one in which a student caused rats’ muscles to waste away in order to learn how various protein supplements could re-grow the tissue.
After PETA brought these experiments to the attention of PepsiCo executives, the company began discussions with us regarding what they could do to eliminate animal testing. As a result of this collaboration, PepsiCo has announced that it will not experiment on animals and is pledging to communicate its opposition to animal testing to all entities that the corporation works with.
“PepsiCo does not do any animal testing and does not directly fund testing using animals. … Where testing on animals is not required, PepsiCo strongly endorses efficient and effective research that does not include the use of animals. We will encourage our partners to use alternatives to animal testing and share this statement with organizations we believe to be involved in projects potentially involving animal research done on behalf of PepsiCo or with PepsiCo or PepsiCo Foundation funding.”
PepsiCo’s compassionate decision to end funding for tests on animals stands in stark contrast to other food and beverage companies that continue to fund needless animal experiments, such as Unilever (maker of Lipton Tea and other food products).