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Health Fads Spell Torture for Man’s Best Friend

You'd never guess it, but the refreshing beverage that's infused with herbal supplements and marketed as an earth-friendly, organic, and/or socially conscious "ancient remedy" for something-or-other might mean hell for man's best friend. The London Times reports that the demand … Read More

By / January 2, 2008

You'd never guess it, but the refreshing beverage that's infused with herbal supplements and marketed as an earth-friendly, organic, and/or socially conscious "ancient remedy" for something-or-other might mean hell for man's best friend. The London Times reports that the demand for health foods has resulted in a huge surge in animal testing, and our canine companions are included among the ranks of the rodents, rabbits, and guinea pigs that populate the laboratories.

The trend for healthier eating has led to an increase of more than 300% in the number of laboratory experiments conducted on animals for food additives, sweeteners and health supplements over the past year. Home Office figures showed an increase from 862 to 4,038 experiments from 2005 to 2006.

Often involving painful procedures and artificially induced injuries, many of these experiments focus on inanities such as the "cabbage diet."

At Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, rats were fed a diet containing 20% raw, lightly cooked or fully cooked cabbage for two weeks. The animals were killed to examine the effects of the diet on their liver and colon. The researchers had already carried out a human study on the effects on the gut of eating cooked cabbage.

Perhaps the most horrific experiment covered in the Times article was conducted by a company called DSM Nutritional Products, which is described as "the world's leading supplier of vitamins, carotenoids and other fine chemicals to the feed, food, pharmaceutical and personal care industries." In testing a product called Teavigo, a green tea extract, DSM force-fed huge doses to dogs who ultimately either died or had to be put down.

American products that contain Teavigo include Kinerase, a "dietary supplement for beautiful skin and wellness," and NUI Kid Water, a flavored, bottled "health" drink marketed to children. The official Teavigo website can be found here.

Whatever your general stance on animal testing might be, doesn't it seem incredibly cruel and wasteful to conduct painful experiments for such inane, passing fancies, especially when there are so many proven, reliable, humane alternatives? I mean, really: Johns Hopkins has a whole center dedicated to finding and using alternatives to animal testing. At this point, testing on animals is just bad science.

As consumers, our power is in our wallets. If you'd rather feed Sparky a dog treat than a lethal dose of Teavigo et al, then do your research and vote NO by boycotting products that unnecessarily test on our buddies in the animal kingdom.

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