For nearly 10 months in 2002 and early 2003, a PETA investigator worked undercover at Sinclair Research Center, a laboratory hired by Iams, and discovered a dark and sordid secret beneath the wholesome image of the dog- and cat-food manufacturer. The happy dogs bounding across a field in Iams dog-food commercials are light-years away from dogs in the laboratory that Iams hired to conduct nutritional studies. An undercover investigation in an IAMS lab found the following:
- Workers talking about dogs lying dead in their cages
- Dark dungeon-like kennels that were stifling in the summer and frigid in the winter
- Dogs circling endlessly in their small prisons from loneliness and boredom
- Dogs dumped onto cold concrete flooring after large chunks of muscle were cut from their thighs
- A procedure in which tubes would be stuck down dogs’ throats to force them to ingest vegetable oil
- Dogs with such severe tartar buildup on their teeth that it was painful for them to eat
- Veterinary technicians with inadequate training and inexperience in performing invasive procedures
The investigator, from US animal rights group PETA, videotaped Iams representatives visiting the laboratory, witnessing the animals in these dreadful conditions – and doing nothing. Even her please that the dogs be given resting boards, toys and the socialisation that they so desperately needed were ignored. To her horror, the lab director even ordered that the dogs’ vocal cords be cut because their frightened and lonely barking irritated him.
Dogs had gone crazy because they were confined to barren steel cages and cement cells, dogs were left piled on a filthy paint-chipped floor after chunks of muscle had been hacked from their thighs, dogs were surgically debarked, and horribly sick dogs and cats were neglected and left in cages to suffer without any veterinary care.
Footage shows that Iams representatives toured the facility and witnessed dogs who were circling in their cells and sweltering in the summer heat. Iams knew the truth yet did nothing to protect the animals.
When PETA went public with this evidence, Iams officials lied and said that they had no idea what conditions were like inside the laboratory that their own staff regularly visited! Iams then cut ties with the lab.
But Iams and its owner, Proctor and Gamble (P&G), still do business with dozens of outside laboratories that might be just as bad as the one investigated. Iams also conducts studies on dogs and cats in its own facility, which it refuses to allow investigators representatives to see.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture investigated PETA's complaint and agreed that the laboratory had failed to provide veterinary care and pain relief to suffering animals, failed to provide animals with adequate space, and failed to train employees—along with nearly 40 other violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Sinclair Research Center paid a penalty of $33,000 for its violations.
After intense pressure from PETA and its supporters, Iams agreed to make the following significant changes in its testing program:
Iams bowed to pressure and severed its ties with Sinclair Research Center.
Iams ended all invasive and terminal experiments on dogs and cats.
Iams agreed to begin conducting humane in-home tests for palatability studies.
According to Iams, about 70 percent of the animals now in its tests reside at home with their families. In these studies, people volunteer their companion animals to participate in food and nutrition experiments from the comfort of their own homes. The human guardians can easily be trained to feed the animals and properly collect fecal and urine samples for laboratory analysis to determine the quality of the animal's food. "In-home" studies have been shown to work and have strong scientific support, as shown by the successful PetSci program, which was developed by Dr. Charles Abramson and Dr. Timothy Bowser of Oklahoma State University.
Even so, Iams still keeps up to 700 dogs and cats in its Dayton, Ohio, laboratory for non-invasive nutritional studies. They claim that this laboratory provides a decent environment for the animals, but they refuse to allow a PETA representative to see inside. Iams claims that some studies are too complex for in-home programs, but PETA urges Iams to collaborate with veterinary clinics for studies such as these. Veterinary clinics regularly see patients who suffer from ailments that a particular dog or cat food might help alleviate.
Iams has also refused to end invasive experiments on species other than dogs and cats. For one study, Iams gave Purdue University nearly $200,000 to conduct a two-year study in which experimenters taped the tails of mice to the tops of cages to keep their hind legs suspended in the air. This was done to cause muscular atrophy—the wasting away of muscle tissue. When PETA protested, the experiment was cut short.
Iams has also fought the release of information from a public university that had conducted a study funded by the company in which a painful disease was induced in dogs. What was Iams hiding?
Iams has made progress, but as an industry leader, it must send an even clearer message: No animal deserves the fate of those who remain in their laboratories. Safe, healthy cat and dog food does not require harming cats and dogs.
PETA continues to press Iams to ban conducting and funding invasive or terminal experiments on all species and to adopt 100 percent humane, non-invasive, and cage-free "in-home" testing, as many of Iams' compassionate competitors have done.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO YOUR FRIENDS.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Call, write, e-mail, or fax Iams and Proctor & Gamble. Tell them that you won’t buy Iams products for your animal companions until they stop conducting experiments on animals and, instead, rely on laboratory analysis of formulas for nutritional composition and in-home studies using dogs and cats who have been volunteered by their human companions.
Dan Rajczak, General Manager
7250 Poe Ave.
Dayton, OH 45414-5801
A.G. Lafley, CEO
Procter & Gamble Co.
1 Procter & Gamble Plz.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Bill Miller, Director of Sales
920 Gana Ct.
Mississauga, ON L5S 1Z4
1-800-658-5657 (press 5 for the name directory)
Procter & Gamble
Surrey KT13 0XP
+44 (0)1932 896000
If you email Iams, they will say they are doing entirely in-home and humane testing, but they won't let anyone inside their facility to see if that is true.
Until Iams agrees, we urge consumers to purchase dog and cat food from companies that do not test on animals.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO YOUR FRIENDS.
p.s. Here are some other petitions you can sign:
Hope For Animals started this petition with a single signature, and now has 6,080 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.