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uncaged response to Iams' latest 'spin'

IAMS' Animal Care Advisory Board

Life for animals in laboratories is filled with days, weeks, months, and years of loneliness, suffering, pain, and fear. While a toy, a resting board, or a few minutes of "socialization" (if provided) may slightly ease the horrors of imprisonment, they do not make animal experimentation humane.

This places IAMS' International Animal Care Advisory Board in a predicament.

While it can evaluate IAMS' program of animal experimentation and make recommendations, nothing it can say or do (short of calling on IAMS to stop experimenting on dogs and cats) will change this one simple fact: IAMS' use of animals in laboratories is inherently cruel and, for that matter, unnecessary. In addition, IAMS as well as the members of this board have no way of knowing what is happening to the animals inside the company's numerous contract testing facilities at any given time.

A review of the members of this board, which was created by IAMS, reveals that it is not as "independent" as the company would have you believe, and that it may be unwilling to heed the very reasonable call for an end to IAMS' programme of animal testing in laboratories.

One member of the board is Dr Robert Hubrecht. Dr Hubrecht is a member of the Research Defence Society - a corporate-funded pro-vivisection lobby group that has lobbied against the requirement for a cost-benefit assessment for animal experiments in the UK. Dr Hubrecht also sits on the Animal Procedures Committee and has actively sought to block proper scrutiny of the Diaries of Despair scandal. The Diaries of Despair has a dedicated website at www.xenodiaries.org - leaked confidential documents detail harrowing, yet futile, experiments involving the transplantation of GM pig organs into five hundred higher primates, plus malpractice, law-breaking, collusion and cover-up.

For a full list and biography of the other members of the 'Animal Care Advisory Board' see www.iamscruelty.com/iams-feat-board.asp.


Uncaged's letter to consumers in receipt of IAMS' latest 'spin'

Dear XXXXXXX

Thank you for contacting Uncaged Campaigns and forwarding the message that you received regarding IAMS' programme of animal experimentation.

Brief History of the Campaign

As I'm sure you are aware, Uncaged first exposed IAMS/Eukanuba's painful, invasive and lethal experiments on cats, dogs and other animals in 2001 after trawling through articles published in scientific journals. In some of the most horrific research cats and dogs suffered and died due to surgically-induced kidney damage. Severe allergies were inflicted on husky puppies and cats were killed in invasive abdominal experiments. See www.uncaged.co.uk/iams.htm for more information about IAMS practices. A front-page story in the Sunday Express revealed these experiments to an unsuspecting world.

IAMS then suddenly developed a 'Research Policy,' claiming that they would not harm or kill cats and dogs. We asked IAMS to provide proof that, after 25 years of vivisecting animals, they had genuinely implemented such a policy. Tellingly, IAMS refused to do this, or even answer our searching questions about their so-called 'research policy.'

In March 2003 a new nine-month undercover investigation conducted by US group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) uncovered harrowing neglect and suffering endured by cats and dogs in IAMS-sponsored experiments. The damning evidence confirmed IAMS' 'research policy' to be nothing more than a sham designed to conceal shocking suffering inflicted on animals in IAMS research.

We have made an official complaint about IAMS' sham statements to the Advertising Standards Authority - who are currently conducting a formal investigation; and PETA have made a similar complaint to the US equivalent, the Federal Trades Commission.

Please remember that everything that either Uncaged Campaigns or PETA has said about IAMS is based on documentary and/or video evidence. Make no mistake, if anything said about IAMS really was untrue or misconstrued, as IAMS would have you believe, we would have been sued and our websites taken down. We haven't.

This brief history of the campaign against IAMS' animal testing gives an idea of IAMS' record of lies and deceit. Rather than admit their faults and apologise to all the cat and dog guardians who quite rightly feel betrayed by this company, IAMS issue misleading and false 'policy statements,' and wage dirty tricks campaigns against Uncaged, the Sunday Express journalist who reported our exposé on the front page, and PETA.

IAMS Current Statements

IAMS have continued to make false statements both in public and on web sites, particularly about PETA's undercover investigation, in response to which PETA's lawyers have issued a notice that the company must stop. In the meantime, don't let IAMS get away with public relations rhetoric to avoid scrutiny of its laboratory testing on animals. Demand that the company publicly release all research protocols and acquisition/disposition records of animals for its in-house and contract facility studies so that people can see for themselves who is telling the truth. Surely, if the company is as kind to animals as it claims, there can be no reason not to comply.

No one who truly cares about animals would ever support the use of animals in laboratory research. In the interests of animal welfare, we have asked IAMS to immediately stop conducting laboratory experiments on cats and dogs and to rely instead on chemical analyses of 'pet'-food formulas and on in-home studies and collaborative studies with private veterinary clinics using animals whose guardians have volunteered them.

Below we consider some of IAMS' specific claims:

"We support the ultimate elimination of laboratory feeding studies as scientifically valid alternatives become available. IAMS will actively work with external partners to develop new research methods in pet nutrition which do not require laboratory feeding studies."

If it is to be believed (and our experience gives us very good reason to doubt the veracity of IAMS statements), then this statement would still only rule out limited types of tests: "laboratory feeding studies" and even then only when "alternatives" become available.

Among the other types of tests that IAMS will persist in conducting include "discovery phase" research and "Metabolized Energy Tests" (METs). The majority of the harmful and lethal experiments detailed in our 2001 exposé would be classed as "discovery phase", whilst the dogs imprisoned at the IAMS contract lab that PETA's investigator exposed were among the animals subjected to MET experiments.

Please visit www.uncaged.co.uk/iams.htm and www.iamscruelty.com to learn how wretchedly these animals suffered. IAMS have informed PETA that it will continue to conduct laboratory tests on animals, despite the fact that laboratory animal tests are neither necessary nor required by law. There are currently many 'pet'-food companies conducting cruelty-free tests, and the list continues to grow.

"We are taking full responsibility for the destiny of all dogs and cats that participate in our feeding studies at both internal and external sites. Our dogs and cats are either adopted into loving homes or placed in the IAMS retirement centre when they no longer participate in our feeding studies. This is unprecedented in the pet arena; we know of no other company that is taking this level of responsibility for the ongoing well-being of all dogs and cats with whom they work."

IAMS' Dan Carey stated at the March 2004 Pet Food Forum that he believed that dogs and cats could spend their "entire lives" in cages for laboratory studies. IAMS have not only refused to reveal how many animals are involved in its laboratory studies or how many years they must suffer before they are adopted out or "retired," but also refuses to allow PETA to visit its retirement centre. What are IAMS trying to hide?

"We are proactively sharing the IAMS Welfare Program for dogs and cats in an effort to make it the norm. An IAMS Behaviourist has shared our socialization and enrichment program with shelters, veterinarians and others to illustrate that it's possible to enrich and socialize in such an environment. In addition, we recently presented our program to others in the pet food industry. We are committed to continual improvement in this area and are looking to adopt best practices in animal care and nutritional research wherever they are created. We will continue to actively search and reapply good ideas from around the world."

For almost two years since Uncaged's 2001 exposé IAMS lied, claiming that the dogs and cats in its facilities were provided with enrichment and socialization. However, PETA's undercover investigation proved that animals in IAMS' lab received no enrichment or socialization - not even the 30 minutes of exercise and socialization five days a week that IAMS consider sufficient for dogs and cats. And even if the animals whom PETA's investigator encountered had been allowed this much recreation time, it would be ludicrous to claim that leaving animals alone in cages all weekend and for 23½ hours a day during the week is "humane"!

IAMS continue to show its disregard for the truth by making false and misleading allegations on their web site, including the following:

The PETA investigator was hired as an "animal behaviourist," and it is her fault that the animals were not properly socialized.

PETA's investigator was hired by the contract laboratory as a "study monitor" and had her hands full collecting data as her job required. Her job description did not include socializing the animals or enriching their lives. Nevertheless, not only did she try her best to perform these services, she also tried to make them standard laboratory practice. Unfortunately, IAMS would neither supply the money required to improve conditions for animals subjected to its tests nor push the laboratory's director to do so.

In fact, this same director was captured on video-tape explaining to the investigator that IAMS was going to pretend to be providing socialization and enrichment until the animal rights people got off its back and then drop the issue. All evidence suggests that IAMS was simply feigning concern for socialization and enrichment in an attempt to sidestep the actual concerns of distressed consumers.

Although implementing socialization and enrichment programs wasn't officially part of PETA's investigator's duties in her capacity as a study monitor, the heart-wrenching conditions that she witnessed prompted her to push for changes for the animals. Yet, despite her repeated requests, even pleas, for improvements - including such basics as letting the dogs outside and providing resting boards - IAMS implemented only a single one, and only on a temporary basis: supplying toys. IAMS also knew that the laboratory had hired no one to implement any enrichment or socialization programs and that our investigator, then known to the company only as a study monitor, had a full-time position gathering data for studies conducted by IAMS and other companies, including Menu Foods.

The PETA investigator was the person responsible for allowing IAMS' dogs to be surgically debarked.

PETA turned over transcripts of all taped conversations regarding the debarking of IAMS' dogs, along with a letter to IAMS vice president Diane Hirakawa and P&G officials, in April 2003. It is clear from these transcripts that the investigator had nothing to do with the decision to debark the dogs, as IAMS itself acknowledged after reading them. In fact, the investigator attempted to inform IAMS that debarking was planned, but her warning went unheeded.

Animals should never suffer for 'pet'-food tests. The only humane option for IAMS is to end all experiments on animals; for animals' sake, we at Uncaged Campaigns and our colleagues at PETA will settle for nothing less. We hope that you will stand with us - and with animals.

Please visit www.uncaged.co.uk/iams.htm and www.iamscruelty.com for more information (including full references to the IAMS experiments referred to in the Uncaged exposé, and to view PETA's undercover video), and for the latest developments.

Thank you for your support of our campaign to stop IAMS' cruel and unnecessary animal experiments.

Yours sincerely

Max Newton
Campaigns Co-ordinator, Uncaged Campaigns

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