Saturday , 18 August 2018
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Licensed to kill?

Maneka Sanjay Gandhi

 

When you buy German cars you have given your consent to kill and maim monkeys and humans. It has now been discovered that German automakers funded studies that had humans and monkeys inhaling diesel fumes. Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler have been exposed in a report published by the New York Times, and various German papers, about a 2014 study carried out by the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT) – a group owned by the car industries – with the aim of defending the use of diesel which had been classified in 2012 as carcinogenic. The animal experiments were done at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute (LRRI) in New Mexico, and the human ones in Aachen University Hospital, Germany, where the health effects of toxic ‘short-term nitrogen dioxide inhalation by healthy people’ were studied. Nitrogen dioxide is a gas found in diesel fumes. The University Hospital has apologised saying that the experiments were done “to optimise safety for truck drivers, mechanics and welders.” Monkeys were put into airtight chambers and made to inhale the exhaust of the cars, for hours, till they died. German Environment Minister, Barbara Hendricks, said later, she was ‘horrified’ by the news. Volkswagen has promised an inquiry into the scandal and has asked for ‘forgiveness for this bad behavior and for poor judgment.’ BMW and Daimler, which owns Mercedes Benz, while agreeing that they commissioned the studies, claim they did not know animals had been used. Daimler said it was “shocked by the extent of those studies and the way they were carried out.” Such an experiment was abhorrent and superfluous. “We are convinced that the scientific methods chosen at the time were wrong. Germany’s Green Party has promised to take up this matter with the administration of Chancellor Angela Merkel. When tests on animals and people showed the opposite of what they wanted, these car industries put a software device to cheat pollution tests about their emissions.

The Dutch are probably the only people not scandalised. Dutch researchers have been performing tests ‘for years’ on humans and animals to study the effects of diesel fumes. The Dutch National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) “is involved in research in which volunteers are exposed to diluted emissions from a diesel engine” for hours and this includes people who are sick and those with heart problems. Dutch researcher Nicole Janssen told the Dutch daily NRC that between 2010 and 2015 a large research project in air pollution was carried out. “I myself have carried out tests for the RIVM. With mice, rats, and occasionally with people,” says toxicology professor, Paul Borm.

Practically every industry has experimented with animals – even when it is not necessary. The sugar industry used a trade group called the Sugar Research Foundation in the 1960s, funded a research project on animals to disprove the allegation that there was a connection between sugar and heart health – thousands of animals were fed only sugar and then dissected to see what the impact was on their hearts. But when the research indicated that sugar might promote not only heart disease but also bladder cancer, the industry group ended the study and never published the results. So the animals suffered and died needlessly. The same sugar industry then employed scientists to prove that artificial sweeteners were carcinogenic, and these were banned on shaky evidence. Again hundreds of animals were killed. The tobacco industry did the same, making thousands of animals smoke cigarettes, or be exposed to cigarette fumes in order to try and prove that cigarette smoking was not injurious to health.

Industries that make a fool of people into buying what they do not need, or what is bad for their health, use animal suffering to manipulate science. The industry that uses animals the most is the cosmetic/beauty industry. And the biggest experimenters on animals are L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Procter & Gamble, Clorox, Johnson & Johnson, S C Johnson, Colgate-Palmolive, Reckitt Benckiser, Church & Dwight, Unilever, and Dial/Henkel. What is even more frightening is that companies that experiment on animals buy small niche companies that don’t experiment on animals, and then use those as a cover to hide their own malevolence. For instance, The Body Shop is frequented by customers who want to make an anti-animal testing statement. But The Body Shop is owned by L’Oreal which has the worst ethics when it comes to animal testing, and is making no effort to change its policies. Tiny brands, like Burt’s Bees (owned by Clorox) and Tom’s of Maine (owned by Colgate-Palmolive), are touted as cruelty free.

These are some of the face and hair brands that test on animals: Almay, Artistry (Amway), Avon, Bobbi Brown, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Clinique, CoverGirl, Dior, Estee Lauder, Flirt, Givenchy, Guerlain, Helena Rubinstein, L’Oreal, Lancôme, MAC, Mary Kay, Max Factor, Maybelline, Rimmel, Revlon, Shiseido, Tom Ford, Yves Saint Laurent, Avene, Bain de Soleil, Bioderma, Biotherm, Bliss, Clarins, Clean & Clear, Clearasil, Garnier, Kiehl’s, L’Occitane, La Mer, Mederma, Neutrogena, Nivea, Noxzema, Oriflame, Ponds, Vaseline, Vichy, Walgreens, Yves Rocher, Clairol, Fekkai, Head & Shoulders, Herbal Essences, Kerastase, Natural Instincts, Nexxus, Nice ‘n Easy, Pantene, Sunsilk, TRESemmé, Vidal Sasson, Dial, Dove, Ivory, Johnson’s, Lux, Wella.

One would have thought that razors and hair remover companies would not need to experiment on animals, but these companies still slice and dice animals to see whether their razors are sharp enough: Bic Corporation, Braun, Gillette Co., Nair, Schiek, Veet.

So do these brands: Band-Aid, Pampers, Savlon, Vaseline, Vicks.

And so do these sanitary napkin companies experiment with which towel absorbs the most blood. They test on cutting an animal and then seeing the blood absorbed: Always, Carefree, Femfresh, Stayfree.

These are only a few. None of them need to test on animals, as none of the animal tests are reliable. In fact, statistics show that 90 per cent of all animal tests are rejected. So why do companies test on animals? I will tell you next time. But first, why do you buy products that are tested on animals? Stop any that are on this list – including your next foreign luxury car.

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