I’m sure many of us have enjoyed a nice cup of tea in the afternoon, or during those cold, chilly nights. Come to think of it, tea is one of the healthiest beverages known to man. It’s been around for thousands of years, and never have we experienced any need to make health claims about it. Tea is healthy, period. There’s nothing to elaborate more about this.
That’s why one could understand the public outrage when a report by the United Kingdom’s branch of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) came out regarding some shocking news about tea companies. Just to be clear, tea is not in the spotlight here, it’s the companies that make them are. According a report, tea companies PG tips, Lyons, and, in particular, Lipton, have been found to test their tea on animals. And the testing is by no means humane. It seems like for the sake of making health claims on their products, these tea companies are putting the health of animals at the backseat.
Here’s an excerpt by PETA of what they found out:
• Rabbits were fed a high-fat, cholesterol-laden diet, leading to extreme hardening of the arteries. They were then fed tea to see if it could reduce the lesions that formed on the animals’ arteries. After the experiment, the rabbits’ heads were cut off.
• Mice bred to suffer from a painful bowel inflammation were fed tea ingredients in order to see if the tea had any effect on their condition. After the test, experimenters killed the mice by suffocating them or breaking their necks.
• Rats were forced to eat a high-sugar diet, and then tea was given to the animals to see if it could protect against sugar-induced brain damage. Other rats had their abdominal wall punctured and were fed radioactively labeled tea ingredients through a tube in their stomachs in order to examine the absorption of tea in the body. Then they were killed, frozen with liquid nitrogen, and crushed.
• Piglets were exposed to E. coli toxin and then fed tea in order to see if the tea could prevent fluid loss and diarrhea. As part of the tests, experimenters cut the pigs’ intestines apart while the animals were still alive. The piglets were then killed.
It’s understandable if these gruesome details make you lose your appetite for tea. It really comes quite as a shock that some tea companies would actually go this far just to make a claim on the healthiness of their products. In their desire to grab a slice of the herbal tea market, (and shore up whatever dwindling sale they have on black tea), tea companies are putting animals at risk. Personally, it doesn’t really make any sense at all.
As stated earlier, tea has been around for thousands of years. And that’s for human consumption. Such a wealth of information gathered in such a long time should have been sufficient to provide some sensible idea to researchers about the health benefits to tea. By intentionally harming animals for the sake of testing is not only an inhuman practice, but it’s also an unnecessary endeavor.
There are other ways to test tea without using animals. And besides, whatever health benefits that these companies claim from these tests don’t mean a thing for people who are suffering from diabetes, heart diseases, and other maladies, but still continue drinking tea. It’s all right to like tea, but if you’re drinking it solely to treat your disease, then that’s an entirely different story. You might require a different kind of help.
You can join in the campaign urging these companies to stop animal testing. Here’s a link to a petition. Try avoiding buying Lipton’s and other companies’ products for the meantime, until the entire issue is resolved. At least, in your own small way, you can put a stop in this.