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IAMS' Cruel Chick Tests

It has been revealed that IAMS/Eukanuba are still using cruel research methods, when non-animal 'alternatives' are available. In order to test for the digestibility of protein in its pet foods, IAMS/Eukanuba subjects 1-week-old baby chicks to severely growth-retarding "protein efficiency ratio" (PER) studies. Chicks are usually then killed and sliced up for growth/nutritional analysis.

IAMS (owned by animal-testing consumer products giant Procter & Gamble) boasts that it conducts "extensive live animal testing" in its PER chick tests to "assure consistent protein quality."

However, its competitors disagree on the need. Hill's Pet Nutrition uses a high-tech computer program that provides "very accurate results"; and Nestlé Purina PetCare Company refuses to conduct PER tests at all.

Furthermore, TNO Nutrition and Food Research (an internationally recognized authority in nutrition research), notes the following in issue 27 (December 2004) of Leads in Life Sciences:

"[T]hese [PER] experiments are extremely slow and give no insight into the availability of the amino acids that are responsible for growth limitation. The test may also result in strong growth retardation due to amino acid deficiencies and therefore has ethical drawbacks. Moreover, this method determines the [protein] requirements of rats and [chickens], not of humans or dogs."

On February 7, 2005, IAMS eventually confirmed that it was looking into another alternative test method called IDEA (Immobilized Digestive Enzyme Assay) to replace the use of chicks. But IAMS will be slow to implement this test method as it claims it must "validate" the method against the chick test.

Validating a high-tech test against an inappropriate and inaccurate low-tech animal test is never a good idea, for obvious reasons!


Cruel Mice Tests Revealed

Drs. Bruce Watkins and Kevin Hannon, researchers at Purdue University, have been given $195,140 by IAMS/Eukanuba to conduct a study entitled, "The Influence of N-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) on Musculoskeletal Atrophy During Unloading."

From 1st May 2004 to 30th June 2006, mice will be subjected to seven days of hind limb muscle atrophy - the wasting away of muscle tissue - which the researchers will induce by "hav[ing] a piece of surgical tape applied to the tail which is then used to lift their rear limbs slightly off the floor," according to a publicly released statement from IAMS. After losing the use of their hind legs, the mice are to be killed and sliced up.

Yet non-animal alternatives already exist for muscle atrophy experiments. Dr. Herman Vandenburgh - an expert on muscle atrophy - and his colleagues have been "developing a model for atrophy using bioartificial muscles [BAM] in his laboratory." Vandenburgh said:

"[W]e can grow the bioartificial muscles in our lab and then we can induce atrophy by reducing the tension on the muscle [using a force transducer]... The muscles generate less force, so they don't make as much protein and they waste away."


IAMS Helps Mush Sled Dog to Death!

In 1994, in response to appeals from humane organisations, IAMS/Eukanuba announced that it had ended sponsorship and support or the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race - a cruel event that forces dogs to mush a gruelling trek of more than 1,000 miles over unforgiving Alaskan terrain, usually in under 14 days.

However, it has emerged that IAMS/Eukanuba has been an official sponsor for "Team Norway" in recent Iditarod races and will be again for 2005.

During the 2004 Iditarod race, Eukanuba sponsored Kjetil Backen of "Team Norway," who pushed his dogs beyond the point of exhaustion. Takk, Backen's lead dog, "just sat down and died" a mile out of the checkpoint, according to race marshal Mark Norman. Al Townshend, head veterinarian at the Unalakleet checkpoint, said, "Sudden death can occur in dogs for a number of reasons ... including accidental trauma, ulcer or a dog inhaling [his or her] own vomit."

Backen also dropped one of his dogs, named Blue, at the so-called "Cripple checkpoint" since she had developed tendonitis of the wrist resulting from the strenuous schedule of mushing day after day.

Even knowing for a fact that dogs are needlessly injured and killed in Iditarod races, IAMS/Eukanuba has refused to terminate its sponsorship!

In fact, IAMS/Eukanuba proudly sponsors other cruel events along with sled dog races. For instance, as a "major sponsor" of the fur-themed "Le Festival du Voyageur" ("The Festival of the Traveler") - billed as Western Canada's largest winter festival - IAMS helps celebrate the "joie de vivre of the fur traders"! At this "celebration," IAMS/Eukanuba hosts its own inhumane mushing event - the "IAMS Voyageur International Sled Dog Classic."

For more information about the suffering endured by dogs in the Iditarod see the Sled Dog Action Coalition website at: www.helpsleddogs.org

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