Green tea maker Ito En bans all animal tests

TOKYO —

Japan-based Ito En Ltd—the world’s largest green tea manufacturer — has adopted a landmark policy against conducting or funding laboratory tests on animals.

With more than $3 billion in annual global sales, Ito En was ranked by Deloitte among the top 250 global consumer-products companies.

In a letter to People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on Thursday, Ikuo Sato, Ito En’s public relations general manager, wrote, “We have decided to stop animal tests on our beverages and foods, considering recent movement and circumstances in other countries on this subject.”

Ito En joins Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Ocean Spray, Welch’s, POM Wonderful, and other companies that have ended animal testing after talking with PETA.

  • 0

    bakabakabaka

    I had no idea that it required animal testing to make better green tea! Maybe that's why the stuff I make at home isn't as good as the bottled kind.

  • 0

    sharky1

    So now they are testing their products on the public instead...unless there is another alternative...No suggestions??? Didn't think so...

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    It seems to me that the Japanese have been drinking green tea in such quantities for such a long time that any "animal testing" would be unnecessary at this point. Anyway, Ito En and other large corporation's public relations departments as a policy geberally try to keep as many people and groups happy. However in the case of PETA they shouldn't be giving them credit.

  • 0

    stevecpfc

    OssanAmerica, Your hatred of Peta and other similar concerns is well noted and shows in your mean spirited post.

    If just 1 animal is saved from this then good. Obviously PETA had a n influence in the decision. Maybe some would prefer animals to suffer.

  • 0

    cleo

    .unless there is another alternative...No suggestions??? Didn't think so...

    There are always alternatives. Only the lazy and unthinking assume the easy way is the only way.

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    stevecpfc at 09:27 PM JST - 20th March OssanAmerica, Your hatred of Peta and other similar concerns is well >noted and shows in your mean spirited post. If just 1 animal is saved from this then good. Obviously PETA had a n >influence in the decision. Maybe some would prefer animals to suffer.

    "Hypocrisy is the mother of all credibility problems, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has it in spades. While loudly complaining about the "unethical" treatment of animals by restaurant owners, grocers, farmers, scientists, anglers, and countless other Americans, the group has its own dirty little secret. PETA kills animals. By the thousands. From July 1998 through December 2009, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) killed over 23,000 dogs, cats, and other "companion animals." That's more than five defenseless creatures every day. PETA has a walk-in freezer to store the dead bodies, and contracts with a Virginia Beach company to cremate them."

    http://www.petakillsanimals.com/petasdirtysecret.cfm

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/134549

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/celebritynews/5106600/Peta-under-fire-over-claim-that-it-kills-most-animals-left-at-its-US-headquarters.html

  • 0

    stevecpfc

    OssanAmerica, so does that mean you would prefer animals to suffer or not? Your response does not answer my question.

  • 0

    sharky1

    Okay cleo...let's hear your alternatives...you can't get by with just stating that there are some...how about it??? As expected...no answer...

  • 0

    gonemad

    Wow. Effectively this means they are constantly using new chemicals with unknown effects in their products. Thanks for letting us know...

  • 0

    stevecpfc

    Animal tests for green tea? How pathetic is that anyway?

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    So let's hear some alternatives to animal testing.

  • 0

    stevecpfc

    There are plenty of companies that maufacture even chemicle products without animal testing. Anyway why should a green tea manufacturer have to test on animals? what they heck are they putting in tgheir "healthy" product?

  • 0

    sf2k

    this article doesn't answer why animals were being used to test green tea to begin with. What was so dangerous? Are they that artificial? This is creepy.

    Ironically while they are nicely stopping the process, this leaves the population scratching their head so likely a sales drop rather than a rise.

  • 0

    cleo

    sharky, let's first hear your reasons why and how green tea needs to be tested on animals. How about it? As expected ...no answer...

    Actually no, there is an answer, but I really do hope gonemad is wrong.

    The alternative? Easy. Don't ingest so-called 'food products' laced with unknown chemicals.

  • 0

    sf2k

    yeah it's a 'food product' not a food. Yikes.

  • 0

    sf2k

    scratch that. this is more a labelling issue

  • 0

    sharky1

    Cleo...you still haven't listed any alternatives. All you can do is become defensive about your position without any relevant facts. You can't even understand what is written, where did I say we should test it on animals? Oh gee, guess I didn't say that....guess this further debases any arguments you may have on the topic.

  • 0

    cleo

    sharky -

    where did I say we should test it on animals?

    Well, let me see..... the article is about testing on animals, and you demand suggestions for an 'alternative'. If you didn't mean an alternative to animal testing, what did you mean?

    And as not understanding what's written and debasing any arguments I might have - maybe you didn't notice that Ito En have stopped ALL animal testing. They aren't announcing that they're going out of business, so maybe it's safe to assume that they have found alternatives?

    Ossan - Are you saying that even though Ito En have found they can do without animal testing, you think they should continue? Whyever for?

  • 0

    Stranger_in_a_Strange_Land

    Forcing those innocent animals to drink that awful green tea is definitely unnecessary cruelty. Finally, the suffering of those poor creatures will cease.

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    cleo at 06:47 PM JST - 21st March Ossan - Are you saying that even though Ito En have found they can do >without animal testing, you think they should continue? Whyever for?

    LOL cleo. Where have I ever said anything that even suggests that? Please dont tell me you bought steves silly little question. I am against PETA. I've made that very clear.That's different from being "for animal testing". Frankly I've waitng to hear you "alternative" to animal testing with genuine curiosity anticipation. However your response in the regard wasn't very fulfilling.

  • 0

    cleo

    Ossan -

    Frankly I've waitng to hear you "alternative" to animal testing with genuine curiosity anticipation. However your response in the regard wasn't very fulfilling.

    It's touching to think that you'd be waiting with genuine curiosity for the gems that drip from my fingertips. :-)

    But you've got me on this one. I cannot for the life of me imagine what kind of animal testing they would do with their tea, so I have no idea what kind of alternatives would be suitable. That don't mean there aren't alternatives. As I said before, there always are.

    So what were they doing? Stuffing dormice into teapots? Washing mice in green tea? Making them swim in it? Squirting it in their little ears? Up their little noses? Boiling them alive in it? Whatever they were doing, they now find they don't need to do any more. That's good. It's very good. 'Don't torture animals' sounds a splendid alternative to 'Do vile and unimaginable things to bunnies'. Let's just spare a thought for the poor bunnies, moggies and other 'test units' for whom this decision didn't come soon enough.

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    The peculiar thing about this article is, as you correctly point out and others have noted, it boggles the mind as to just how "animal testing" applies to the manufacturing of green tea. And since no one has the slightest idea what testing was being done and for what, it is also unreasonable to automatically assume that the subject test animals were being tortured or otherwise subject to to pain or even discomfort. For all we know they made lab rats drink lots of green tea to see how long they would stay awake.

  • 0

    Gurukun

    For all we know they made lab rats drink lots of green tea to see how long they would stay awake.

    They proabably made the rats drink alot of green tea to extend thier life expectancy. It's a good thing.

  • 0

    cleo

    For all we know they made lab rats drink lots of green tea

    Can you spot the key word in that sentence? If anyone made me drink enough green tea to keep me awake, I'd think I was being tortured and I would certainly be in a great deal of discomfort.

    it is also unreasonable to automatically assume that the subject test animals were being tortured or otherwise subject to to pain or even discomfort.

    If the animals were living the life of Riley in their little state-of-the-art testing cages with all mod cons, it would hardly be good PR for Ito En to announce 'We aren't making them feel good any more,' would it? Call me naive or even cynical, but when a company announces 'We're joining the mainstream and not doing animal experiments any more', I think it's a pretty safe bet that the animals are better off now than they were. (Assuming that the animals already in the cages are found good homes and not just desiccated and dumped in the nama gomi.)

    There's no mention that I can find on their website of this decision to stop animal testing, but I did find a reference to the effects of green tea on the onset of dementia in the elderly. No great detail is given, but it seems in tests done up to last year they messed around with the brain cells of unspecified animals to see what effect large amounts of the amino acids in green tea had on the memory. And of course they don't find out anything worth knowing until they start working with human volunteers in varying stages of dementia.

    (For those who are interested, it seems that if you're not already demented drinking two cups of green tea a day will help keep dementia at bay, or slow down its progress if you do get it. If you're already far enough gone for it to be a problem, drinking gallons of green tea probably won't help.)

    http://www.itoen.co.jp/news/2009/052001.html

  • 0

    USARonin

    Why does Ito En even respond to nutters like *PETA?

    Scratchin' that itch only makes it worse.

    *People (Who Wish They Were) Eating Tasty Animals

  • 0

    stevecpfc

    cleo, well their experiments on animals were needless. Experiments on humans showed that ingesting turmeric was the best way to prevent dementia in humans. Indians have extremely low rates.

    Why is a company making a healthy product needing to test its product on animals. Surely a natural product can be tested on humans without danger, or have they just realised that.

  • 0

    limboinjapan

    OK, I agree that some of the animal testing is just not necessary and perhaps in the case of soft drinks I really can't justify it.

    But PETA are a bunch of nutters that would have everyone stop eating all forms of "animals" as well as all forms of animal testing due to their personal beliefs.

    I for one don't like the idea of subjecting any living creature to unnecessary pain or discomfort but what are the alternatives when it come to thing such as medical research? Test on humans? (maybe the poor and starving in the third world) seeing that PETA seem to care more about a lab rat themn humans.

    What is the most hypocritical of PETA members is that knowing that 90% or more of the medication used today were originally tested on animals, they still gladly use it rather then die.

    PETA members and their leaders are generally well-off financially with the luxury to choose, I would like them to go to Africa or another area of the world where people have shortage of food and medicine and tell them how much better off they will be by being vegetarians and without the new medications that may only be achievable with testing on something or someone.

    If they don't like animal testing why don't they volunteer to be the test subjects, that way they can save the animals and maybe even some people.

  • 0

    USARonin

    LimboinJapan, I go by the rationale, "If we're not supposed to eat animals, then why are they made outta meat?"

    Animals should not suffer unnecessarily and should be killed humanely when necessary. That goes for bipods as well as animals.

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    cleo at 11:13 AM JST - 22nd March For all we know they made lab rats drink lots of green tea Can you spot the key word in that sentence? If anyone made me drink >enough green tea to keep me awake, I'd think I was being tortured and I >would certainly be in a great deal of discomfort.

    Yes they "made them drink" as in left some in a water pan and the rat went over and drank it. We're not talking about attaching a nozzle to the rat's face and pumping green tea into it at 800psi. I'm afraid you and I have different definitions of the world "torture" and "discomfort".

    'We're joining the mainstream and not doing animal experiments any >more', I think it's a pretty safe bet that the animals are better off >now than they were. (Assuming that the animals already in the cages are >found good homes and not just desiccated and dumped in the nama gomi.)

    I have severe doubts about the above. Animals used for testing aren't just gathered up from somwhere and if they aren't needed just given sozt fuzzy cozy homes or let loose to frolic in the meadow. If a green tea manufacturer no longer wants their shipment of lab rats and rabbit the odds are very hiogh that they are going to get sent somewhere else, possibly someplace that manufactures something not as benign as green tea.

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    stevecpfc at 11:25 AM JST - 22nd March cleo, well their experiments on animals were needless.

    Without knowing what and how animals were being used in connection with the manufacturing of green tea, the above statement is meaningless.

  • 0

    cleo

    Why is a company making a healthy product needing to test its product on animals.

    I think they wanted to be able to say, 'Buy our tea, it will stop you being demented in your old age'. In other words, it was a marketing thing, not a medical research thing.

    I for one don't like the idea of subjecting any living creature to unnecessary pain or discomfort but what are the alternatives when it come to thing such as medical research? Test on humans?

    The scientists mess around with their lab rats and mice and dogs and whatnot, and get to write all kinds of learned papers about what they learn from injecting them with diseases they wouldn't normally get and then 'curing' them with the latest new wonder drug. But no matter how many tests are carried out on animals, you don't know how any particular drug is going to affect humans until you try it out on humans. The first human subjects are always the real guinea pigs, so yes, you need to test on humans. Depending on what you're testing for, you can use volunteers, or human cell cultures. When you take a new drug, do you want to be assured that it seems to work in rats - or that it works in (and doesn't harm) people?

    If they don't like animal testing why don't they volunteer to be the test subjects

    Do you know that they don't?

    Ossan -

    About the animals being forced to drink gallons of green tea - the experiments were to study brain cells and dementia. How do you imagine they find out how the amino acids affect the brain? (Hint: they don't just ask the rats, 'Do you feel better after drinking all that tea?' If the rats were just living happy little lives running through mazes to demonstrate their lack of dementia, what need would there be to ban animal testing?) Think more along the lines of artificially-induced ratty dementia and cutting open little ratty heads to look at little ratty tea-soaked brains.

    So maybe there aren't any rats left to go to new homes anyway, either nice ones or new labs. They've probably all been debrained and desiccated.

  • 0

    cleo

    stevecpfc at 11:25 AM JST - 22nd March cleo, well their experiments on animals were needless.

    Without knowing what and how animals were being used in connection with the manufacturing of green tea, the above statement is meaningless.

    No animals were used in the manufacture of green tea, but in a campaign to show that green tea helps prevent or retard to onset of dementia in the elderly. Presumably for the sake of advertising. The Ito En website gives no details of the animal experiments, but does go into quite some detail about the human trials. So stevecpfc is correct. After all this time there is certainly no need to test green tea for its safety, so there was no reason not to go directly to human trials. And since they've stopped using animals, it would seem that Ito En agree that their use is not necessary.

    http://www.itoen.co.jp/news/2009/052001.html (Japanese)

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    cleo at 12:29 AM JST - 23rd March About the animals being forced to drink gallons of green tea - the >experiments were to study brain cells and dementia. How do you imagine >they find out how the amino acids affect the brain? (Hint: they don't >just ask the rats, 'Do you feel better after drinking all that tea?' If >the rats were just living happy little lives running through mazes to >demonstrate their lack of dementia, what need would there be to ban >animal testing?) Think more along the lines of artificially-induced >ratty dementia and cutting open little ratty heads to look at little >ratty tea-soaked brains.

    If lab rats are used to study and advance human effort to stem dementia, is that not a worthy cause?

    So maybe there aren't any rats left to go to new homes anyway, either >nice ones or new labs. They've probably all been debrained and >desiccated.

    Well no. According to you they wouldn't have been debrained and desiccated yet since they's be in a package earmarked for the Ito En facility but now their destination would change. I can't imagine Pre de-brained and Pre desiccated rats to be much use to any facility or laboratory anyway.

  • 0

    OssanAmerica

    cleo at 12:39 AM JST - 23rd March No animals were used in the manufacture of green tea, but in a campaign >to show that green tea helps prevent or retard to onset of dementia in >the elderly. Presumably for the sake of advertising.

    So are you suggesting that animals were used "for the sake of advertising" and that that data gleaned from the same animal testing that could help retard the onset of dementia in the elderly is of no use to the human race?

  • 0

    limboinjapan

    Cleo; But no matter how many tests are carried out on animals, you don't know how any particular drug is going to affect humans until you try it out on humans. The first human subjects are always the real guinea pigs, so yes, you need to test on humans."

    Very nice, response, with complete disregard to the point I was making.

    Would you like to be the first volunteer to try the next cancer drug, knowing it has never been tested as to how much is lethal or how much is safe?

    I would suggest if (and I sincerely hope you never are) are ever seriously sick that you think very hard when you are taking any medication that it was probably tested on animals first, then ask yourself do I let myself die or take this?

    The fact are until a better method of testing is found (and please don't use the old PETA BS that we can test on cells because that has VERY limited use and results) just about every medical breakthrough has and will be made with some animal testing.

    And I just love how everyone gets all teary eyed when thinking about those poor little lab rats when you wouldn't hesitate to kill any rat found in your home using some sort of horribly painful poison or trap.

  • 0

    Farmboy

    The connection between the company, animal testing, and green tea sort of explained here at the top of the page, though one still wonders...why did this ever happen?: http://www.peta.org/about/victories.asp Glad the company bans the test now.

  • 0

    motytrah

    ITO makes more than just tea. Be that as it may, typical animal tests involve trying to blind or induce some sort of overdose. A lot of it is fairly barbaric and unnecessary. This isn't medical research, it's testing for allergies and reactions and can be done with automated assay and immunoassay tests.

    If you're a fan of those kinds of tests just keep buying proctor and gamble products (AKA P&G). They have drawn the ire of animal rights groups for decades. You don't hear a lot about it in the news media because P&G is the largest advertiser in the world.

  • 0

    cleo

    If lab rats are used to study and advance human effort to stem dementia, is that not a worthy cause?

    It sounds good in theory, but when no real results are obtained until you use human subjects, what's the point?

    Would you like to be the first volunteer to try the next cancer drug, knowing it has never been tested as to how much is lethal or how much is safe?

    Knowing that a drug is safe in rats, or dogs, or even chimps, is no guarantee at all that it will be safe in humans, or safe in comparative doses. (The opposite is also true - penicillin kills cats, insulin causes deformities in mice. If any attention had ever been paid to the animal testing of insulin, millions of diabetics would be dead.) So yes, it needs to be tested on humans first and I'd rather not be the first, thank you. Though if I were desperate I might.

    you wouldn't hesitate to kill any rat found in your home using some sort of horribly painful poison or trap.

    Speak for yourself. We have nets upstairs and downstairs to catch wayward spiders and such, so's we can escort them outside unharmed. Keep a cat or a dog, and the rats and mice stay away of their own accord. 'horribly painful poison or trap'? Not even for gokkis. We don't even spray the roses.

  • 0

    hohummtoronto

    i didnt know they DID .

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