Coke, please – no ice, no animal testing…

chimp%20behind%20bars.jpgSoft drinks – animal testing; come again? Earlier this year, Coca-Cola (Coke, Minute Maid, Fruitopia) and Pepsico (Pepsi, Tropicana, Gatorage) made decisions that their value chains will no longer include animal testing. Each agreed to stop directly financing research that uses animals to test or develop their products, except where such testing is required by law. Elaine Palmer, a spokeswoman for Pepsico, said that while the company had never supported the idea of animal testing, ‚ÄòWe had not been policing it, so that part is new.‘” Danny Strickland, Coke’s chief innovation and technology officer said “senior management had not previously been aware of the (animal) studies.”
So who is watching the animals in the value chain?

Many companies have Sustainability officers, in charge of “greening” initiatives. Companies have Human Resources VPs in charge of labor issues and diversity initiatives, and Community Relations directors in charge of philanthropic efforts. Logistics and Quality are the departments minding the ethics of the supply chain. Who is looking out for the welfare of animals in the value chain? Let’s step back. Have firms taken the first step to identify the use of animals in the value chain?
In January of this year, Pom pomegranate juice agreed to cease tests on animals after PETA disclosed a 2005 study financed by the company that tested the juice to see if it might relieve artificially induced erectile dysfunction in rabbits. Whole Foods stepped in to say that they would no longer carry the POM product line if the animal tests did not stop.
A study involving a Coca-Cola scientist, financed by Nutrasweet, cut open the faces of chimpanzees to study nerve impulses used in the perception of sweet tastes.
Dr. Alan Goldberg, director of the Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing at Johns Hopkins University states, “I have never found chimpanzee work justifiable…they are a species that’s incredibly close to human capacity, and we just have to recognize that. If it shouldn’t be done in humans it shouldn’t be done in chimps.” Dr. Goldberg says that in the last 30 years, there have been many advances in non-animal models that are typically more scientifically precise. “In vitro models are cleaner (and) the bottom line is that I’d love to see animal studies disappear entirely,” he said.
NEAVS, the New England Anti-Vivisection Society agrees. NEAVS Project Release & Restitution is calling for release of chimpanzees from biomedical labs and placement into sanctuaries. NEAVS says that “chimpanzee research has been shown time and again to be unnecessary and even dangerous to human medical advances. The scientific community itself is in debate about the efficacy of chimpanzee research to study human health and disease. Although chimpanzees have 96% of the same DNA as us, we now know that they – like all other species experimented on – differ significantly from humans. These differences can result in crucial disparities in the way viruses progress in chimpanzees and humans, and in how we respond to drugs and treatments.”
England, Sweden, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Austria and Japan have banned or limited biomedical research on great apes. The United States remains the largest user of chimpanzees in biomedical research in the world, although, recently, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced they will stop breeding government-owned chimpanzees for research, a move that has been lauded as a monumental decision by animal protection groups. Earlier, in 2000, the U.S. Chimp Act was passed, requiring the U.S.government to take partial responsibility for costs of lifetime care for a former chimps in research outside the laboratory It also prohibits routine euthanasia simply because the animal is no longer of use.
With improved accountability and value chain transparency that is inherent in corporate citizenship, the mission to proactively “reduce – refine – replace” should become as common as the drive to become “carbon neutral” and engage in “fair trade.” Technology has improved tremendously in the last 30-50 years. In the animals’ case, ignorance of their use and conditions is not bliss.
With an MBA in Sustainable Management, Janice Neitzel is a principal of Sustainable Solutions Group. She is a certified facilitator developing sustainability strategies for innovative value chain solutions with particular insight into improving animal-related business practices (

Janice Neitzel

As CEO of Sustainable Solutions Group, Ms. Janice Neitzel uses a data-driven approach in leading top food industry decision-makers in answering consumer demand for higher animal welfare meat, dairy, and eggs. Her clients range from international to North American to regional food companies, including food manufacturers, retailers, grocery, private brand, quick service, casual dining and fast casual restaurant chains. Ms. Neitzel has an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School and is a Certified Group Facilitator. With Dr. Temple Grandin as a primary advisor, Ms. Neitzel leads decision-makers to consensus on supply chain Animal Welfare and Antibiotics Policies, for a more sustainable food supply chain.

4 responses

  1. Chimps, and other Great Apes (humans, orangutans, gorillas and bonobos) can surprise us at how “human” they can be. At the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, IA, where researcher Sue Savage-Rumbaugh transferred from the University of Georga with Kanzi and Panbanisha, bonobos control who and when any visitors/staff enter their home. I’ve heard that Panbanisha becomes embarrassed when people arrive unexpectedly, and will rush around cleaning up her home before allowing visitors in.
    Another ape drew a picture in the sand that clearly resembled an ape sitting, and then gave then signed his name (sign as in sign language, not signature). The fact that an ape (other than humans) can draw a self portrait speaks volumes about their self awareness and cognition! Fascinating!
    Just as I wouldn’t buy products tested on children, I wouldn’t buy products tested on apes.

  2. I am the BIGGEST animal lover in the world! I think what you guys are doing is ssssoooo wrong all it is is animal abuse that is not right what so ever. I think that this should be stopped ameditaly and that a bill should be passed stopping it!!!!!!!!!!!!! STOP ANIMAL ABUSE IT IS SSSSOOOOO WRONG!!!!!!!!!! ANIMALS ARE LIKE PEOPLE THEY HAVE FEELINGS AND I THINK IT IS TIME SOME PEOPLE RESPECT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I hope you are happy with killing inasinte lives.

  3. i believe there are in many ways better alternatives then actualy using real apes and chimpanzees in testing.
    our technology today is so advanced scientist could produce a model a tester to say of a human body ,make everything in our body synthetic but work the same way. we could save the lives of hundereds of animals but our government doesnt give a crap about anything but their own personal gain.

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