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Global Boycott P&G Day 2001

Protest grows for fifth successive year

5th Global Boycott Procter & Gamble Day
Saturday 14th July 2001

This event was the most successful yet (surpassing even last year's Day of Action which also saw continued protest growth!), with over 75 events taking place in the UK alone. The front page Iams exposé in the Sunday Express six weeks earlier gave the Day of Action even greater impetus.

Uncaged Campaigns kicked off the weekend's action on Friday 13th July, with a protest outside P&G's new offices at the Cobalt Business Park on the outskirts of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. We were joined by activists from Newcastle Animal Rights Coalition (NARC) and others from the North East.

Despite pouring rain, we placed a wreath outside the building to commemorate the thousands of innocent animals who have suffered and died at the hands of P&G.

A petition was then submitted to Procter & Gamble containing 100,000 signatures of members of the public who have pledged to boycott Procter & Gamble until the company stops vivisection. This brings the total number of 220,000, representing an estimated £10 million per year in lost business.

Following the protest, we gathered in South Shields town centre to demonstrate outside Asda, alerting shoppers to P&G's animal testing practices.

Extensive media coverage

The protests gained coverage in much of the regional media, including both the Tyneside daily papers, the Journal and the Evening Chronicle, as well as Tyne Tees TV. Educating thousands of people across the North East about P&G's cruel practices was a fantastic start to the 2001 Day of Action!

Saturday itself saw actions across the UK and further afield, including Israel, USA and Canada. Supermarkets have been a major focus for campaigning, with public awareness events, street theatre and protests inside and outside stores. This informs others about P&G's animal testing practices and the supermarkets must report such incidents to Procter & Gamble.

Report of Iams sales slump

The response from members of the public continues to be overwhelmingly positive, and campaigners across the world have been encouraged to continue organising further actions against P&G's vivisection. Many local events also gained media coverage, which is a great achievement as it helps to educate thousands of readers about P&G. One group was told by a man who claimed to be a sub-contractor for P&G that Iams sales have been affected (see below for local reports…).

Minister's visit shows New Labour hypocrisy

During the weekend, we were tipped off about Monday's official opening of the new Procter & Gamble offices, with Stephen Byers MP (Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government & the Regions) doing the 'honours'. This is breathtaking hypocrisy on the part of a Labour minister. Procter & Gamble tests cosmetics on animals, in direct contradiction to Labour's 'total' opposition to the practice.

Once again we were joined by NARC campaigners as we held a dignified and highly effective protest outside the building during Byers' visit.

During his visit, we requested that the Minister accept information about the issue and take two minutes to listen to our concerns. His response? He scuttled out of the rear entrance, his chauffeur swerving to avoid us as we tried to hand him the dossier we had prepared for him. It is truly pathetic that a Government minister does not have the common decency to speak to members of the public with irrefutable grievances.

Nonetheless, with the help of a megaphone which could clearly be heard inside (according to journalists there), we informed P&G and Mr Byers of some home truths, and spoke to the media who had turned up to cover P&G's big day. The hypocrisy of My Byers' association with Procter & Gamble came up during questions to the minister, which must have made Procter & Gamble extremely uncomfortable: the company's CEO, AG Lafley, had flown in from global HQ in Cincinatti for the event. Byers was implicitly critical of P&G when he told reporters:

"We have banned testing for cosmetics, and that is a ban I support. If people have genuine concerns then they have the right to make their point of view."

If only Mr Byers and New Labour really would listen to the truth and behave in a principled manner rather than turning a blind eye to the cruel and destructive practices of big business like P&G...

Monday's protest was a great finale to the Fifth Global Boycott Procter & Gamble Day. Turning what was planned as a prestige event for P&G into a debate about P&G's extreme animal testing practices was a major success. In conjunction with the Iams exposé, this year's actions have really given P&G food for thought.

Local Boycott Procter & Gamble Day events:

Gill Williamson and Susan Jamieson demonstrated outside Tesco in Inverness, and got a great story in the Highland News.

Bognor & Chichester Action for Animals held information stalls in both towns as part of the Global Action Day, collecting hundreds of signatures on the Boycott P&G Pledge and distributing several hundred information leaflets. One member of the public told the group he was a sub-contractor for P&G. He reported that a warehouse was full of close-to-sell-by-date Iams that could not be shifted because the bad publicity meant that the supermarkets were not able to sell the brand as they had anticipated! Apparently P&G are facing losing money.

The Covance Campaign and Bradford Animal Rights held an awareness-raising event in Rochdale, complete with giant P&G products and banners. Afterwards they hit Asda with a triple action. One trolley remained in the toilet for hours, laden with P&G products and an informative sign.

R. Simmons and L. Byway leafletted in Ramsgate.

Libby McKinnon held a Boycott P&G information stall in Derby City Centre.

Swindon Animal Concern organised a stall in the Wiltshire town.

Swansea Animal Rights staged a costumed street theatre outside Waitrose and Safeway and achieved coverage in the local paper! They had such a good response they repeated the feat in Pembroke the following week.

Jane and Joan picketed Tesco's in Ashford, Kent on Friday 13th, with another excellent response. The following day they held a stall in Hythe on the Kent coast, and received a particularly good reaction about the Iams exposé.

The stalwarts of Solihull Animal Aid joined us again this year, joined by a giant white rabbit outside Safeway's.

Mrs Rose in Norwich handed leaflets to shoppers at Pets At Home and had a very positive response.

Edinburgh Animal Rights protested the following week due to bad weather, with one lucky participant playing a beagle for the demo!

Patricia Tricker leafletted her local area in North Yorkshire.

Pat Griffin reports from Cambridge: "Fourteen people attended protests at both Sainsbury's and Tesco's. Trolleys were filled with P&G merchandise but after all the goods had passed through the check-out the 'customers' were informed about the cruel experiments carried out. The 'customers' then said they did not want to buy the goods and refused to pay for them so the supervisors were called to about six of the check-outs to sort the matter out. The management took leaflets and the protest continued outside with an 8' banner and hundreds of Uncaged leaflets. The public were very interested to learn about what P&G do. The police were called and we continued to our next venue. All in all, a very good day."

West Wales Animal Aid visited several supermarkets in the Carmarthen area to stage some 'in-store theatre': a 'Mad Scientist' dosing a 'laboratory rabbit' with a P&G product via a 'stomach tube'. Tesco's were unpleasant and stroppy, while the Co-op let them get on with it! The demo was covered (albeit incorrectly) in the Carmarthen Journal.

The Israeli Society for the Abolition of Vivisection and Anonymous for Animal Rights (Israel) joined forces to put on street theatre in the Magen-David square in the heart of Tel-Aviv.

Surrey supporters of Uncaged held a demo outside Sainsbury's in Guildford on Saturday morning. Virginia Alexander reports: "We had a very good response, some people in tears and some outraged at the cruelty of P&G. Some who couldn't wait to go home and take their half-eaten packets of IAMS back to the supplier to show them the leaflets and demand their money back."

In Sheffield City Centre, Uncaged Campaigns held a big awareness raising event outside Sainsbury's on The Moor, distributing several hundreds of leaflet. Several banners, a giant 'rabbit', and a megaphone helped get the "Boycott P&G" message across.

Looking forward…

We aim to apply constant pressure on Procter & Gamble through continuing to educate consumers across the world about P&G's cruel practices. Please help in whatever way you can by:

  • Spreading the word to family and friends - we don't yet have the funding for mass advertising so please get involved!
  • If you are an 'activist', participating in the campaign on an ongoing basis (if necessary, contact us for details of how to get involved, campaign ideas, etc.)
  • Adopting the campaign if your country does not have a group already doing so (again, contact us for details and advice).
  • Pledging your participation in next year's Global Boycott Procter & Gamble Day.
  • Making a donation (either one-off or via a regular standing order) to help us educate the public, build the boycott, and cajole and pressurise Procter & Gamble.

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