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IAMS exposed at cat shows

Uncaged Campaigns took on IAMS at two national cat shows in November and December 2001.

1. IAMS vivisection exposed at the National Cat Club show

Photo credit Jon AyrUncaged Campaigns once again took the stage in the latest battle against pet food giant IAMS at the National Cat Club show on Saturday 8th December 2001 at Kensington Olympia.

After our last encounter with them at the Supreme cat show last month (see report below), it seemed that IAMS were determined to step up their publicity drive with representatives giving out promotional flyers and holding one of the largest displays at the show.

In contrast, Uncaged were allocated a small stand at the opposite end of the hall to IAMS, but this did little to affect our impact. Exhibiting indisputable evidence of their lethal experiments on cats and dogs, our aim was to expose IAMS as a vivisecting company who have tortured and killed animals in pursuit of profits.

We received a massive amount of support from horrified pet owners, many of whom actually returned to the IAMS stand to challenge them about their actions.

IAMS were clearly prepared for confrontation from concerned pet owners and were deliberately vague and misleading in their response. Their official line now is that they "will not participate in any study requiring or resulting in the euthanasia of cats or dogs" - a statement that fails to mention that they may very well undertake non-lethal testing on cats and dogs and perform experiments involving euthanasia on other species. For a company whose annual sales are now in excess of $800 million, their notion that "animal well-being is always our top priority" is becoming an increasingly hypocritical and outrageous statement.

We were also present at the show to obtain signatures for our petition to lobby the show organisers - the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) to prevent IAMS from being able to promote themselves at their events. The GCCF currently licence 12 cat shows a year and state that all of their 139 affiliated cat clubs have a strong interest in the welfare of cats and the GCCF themselves have a "specialist interest in cat welfare". It would therefore seem ludicrous that they would continue to positively encourage the promotion of a company that kill the very animals they are trying to protect, and we will continue to lobby organisations that actively endorse IAMS.

For a full copy of Uncaged Campaigns Report into IAMS' vivisection programmes please send £5.00 (inc. p&p) to the address below. Please make cheque payable to 'Uncaged Campaigns'.

If you want to let IAMS know how you feel you can contact their customer service department on 0800 426 785 or via email at customer.service@iams.com.


2. IAMS vivisection exposed at the Supreme Cat Show

On Saturday 24th November 2001 Uncaged Campaigns was at the Supreme Cat Show at the NEC in Birmingham (the cat equivalent of Crufts).

Photo credit Jon Ayr Photo credit Jon Ayr Photo credit Jon Ayr

In May 2001 we exposed 24 horrific and lethal experiments funded by cat/dog food manufacturer, The Iams Company (who also make Eukanuba), on previously healthy cats and dogs. IAMS have refused to deny they are still conducting painful and invasive tests on cats and dogs, and still killing other animals. They are also owned by notorious animal-testers Procter & Gamble (P&G).

Thousands of companion animal guardians and hundreds of 'pet' supply shops, animal welfare and rescue organisations and breeders have already joined the boycott of IAMS/Eukanuba products and/or disassociated themselves from this cruel company. We showed the GCCF all the evidence and suggested that, as an organisation dedicated to the well being and welfare of cats, it too should make clear that it cannot condone this treatment of cats. We asked the GCCF to (a) withdraw the invitation for IAMS to have a stall at the Supreme (b) make a public statement condemning these practices (c) allow us a stall at the Supreme. We also asked for a meeting with the GCCF to go through specific issues.

The GCCF refused to: expel IAMS from the Supreme (in so doing the GCCF would lose the large cheque IAMS paid for its huge 'stall'); make a public statement against the vivisection of cats in general, or IAMS vivisection of cats in particular; or meet with representatives of Uncaged Campaigns.

However, the GCCF did allow us to hire a stall so that cat lovers would have the opportunity to obtain the facts about a decade of cruel and lethal experiments inflicted on previously healthy, innocent, cats and dogs by the The Iams Company.

In the week leading up to the show we received some rather strange emails from the GCCF, expressing concern that we might break the terms of our agreement to have a stall at the Supreme; or "display large posters, visible at a distance from your stand, which might in any way upset or alarm visitors, including children"; and, apparently, "various people have suggested that you will be campaigning against cat shows, the Cat Fancy etc." This was despite all our previous assurances, and the fact that nowhere in any of our literature or websites had we suggested that we would be "campaigning against cat shows," which roughly translated to 'seeking to cause trouble and spoiling everybody's day.'

Within minutes of erecting our stall various Show organisers and stewards had approached us and asked us to move! They wanted us to move to a location that was stuck away in the corner of the hall, and the only explanation was that we were "too close to the show cats." However, they refused to explain why this should be a problem, or what they expected we were going to do. They also tried to claim we were too close to the other stalls, which they quickly saw to be nonsense. There had apparently been a meeting at which it was decided to move our stall, but they had neglected to inform us. After a bit of a standoff they allowed us to stay as long as we "behaved"!

We were soon swamped by people visiting our stall to learn about IAMS' cruel practices for the first time, to get more information, or simply to express their wholehearted support in person. We distributed thousands of leaflets, hundreds of reports, showed people the full scientific articles, and hopefully changed the shopping habits of many people. The response was overwhelmingly supportive. Companies like IAMS (and their parent company Procter & Gamble) are not altruistically serving the interests of cats and dogs - they are guided by the quest for increased profits. The best way to make them change their practices is to hit these profits.

We also had petitions addressed to the GCCF. The text of the petitions runs:

"We, the undersigned, call upon the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF) to adopt a robust and coherent policy that tackles cruelty to cats, including laboratory experiments performed on cats to develop pet foods. We urge the GCCF to eschew vivisection and instead acknowledge that research to enhance the health of cats in general does not and should not rely on inflicting pain, suffering and death on cats who are unlucky enough to have been bred to be vivisected (ironically, the GCCF constitution already describes such breeding as 'discreditable conduct'). We call upon the GCCF to take a pro-active role in promoting ethical clinical research methods designed to help the cats involved, rather than accepting unethical vivisection experiments that exploit and damage cats. As a first step, we ask the GCCF not to aid in the promotion of pet food companies, such as The Iams Company, that perform vivisection."

We are still trying to raise signatures on these petitions. Please contact Uncaged for petition sheets and leaflets etc.

At the end of a successful, but tiring day (especially for Jez who got very sweaty in the cat costume!) the Show organiser thanked us for the way we had conducted ourselves! And the hall manager of the National Cat Club Show invited us to hold a similar stall at their show at the Olympia in London.

Many thanks must go to Jon and Vivien Ayr and Kim Einhorn for all their help and support. (All photographs on this page by Jon Ayr.)

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Uncaged 1993-2012: This is the archived website of Uncaged. All information correct at the time of archiving - November 2012.