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
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
R. Simmons and L. Byway leafletted in Ramsgate.
Libby McKinnon held a Boycott P&G information stall in Derby
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.
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.