The first in a series of articles about PETA, animal protection, and China
Paul Penders can proudly claim to be among the very first manufacturers in the world to stand up to a government and refuse to allow his products to be tested on animals. Maybe even the very first. Paul himself has been a leading champion in the cosmetics industry for animal rights and an end to the cruel practices of animal testing. For some 30 years,“No Animal Testing” has been a guiding principle of his company, one that has helped to build its international reputation for excellence.
In 1984, he began a battle with the authorities in the Netherlands that culminated with him moving his entire factory and his family out of the country of his birth. The government required tests of any personal care products at that time (fortunately Dutch laws have been changed). Naïve and innocent, as a young man he brought a sample of his shampoo to a lab for tests, actually thinking that the animals would be given a bath and if their fur was clean and shiny that would be that. Instead, he personally witnessed the force-feeding of products to rabbits – until he ran out to the bathroom to throw up his lunch. That day changed his life and every day since he has been deeply committed to the causes of animal protection.
Recently a letter was received from “People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals,” known as “PETA.” In it, a representative wrote that the Paul Penders company is to be stripped from the list of companies that maintain cruelty-free practices. Their reason? Paul Penders products are sold in the Peoples Republic of China (mainland China).
This is the first in a series of articles to come on this blog looking at the many issues raised by this action on the part of PETA.
The issues can be complex, certainly there are still animal tests and examples of animal cruelty going on in China and elsewhere throughout the world. Political, legal, and financial issues abound around the best ways to persuade a country’s government to enact laws protecting animals and ending animal tests. The cosmetics industry is challenged to provide safe formulas that may border on the medicinal or pharmaceutical. And importantly, the proper conduct of a not-for-profit, donor-supported animal rights organization comes into question.
Let me say here that I am personally outraged by this action by a representative of PETA’s “Laboratory Investigations” arm. It is clearly harmful to this small company and profoundly disrespectful to Paul who has been one of the most outspoken leaders of this cause for some 30 years – long before PETA took up the banner.
Further, I believe it insults Chinese culture and its governing officials. And it damages PETA’s reputation as it destroys the trust of its supporters in the cosmetics and personal care industries, and the general public. If PETA can take such actions based on unidentified “Chinese experts” advice – without proof and or valid investigation – then why should anyone believe them?
“Innocent until proven guilty” is a fundamental principle of American justice. If PETA has proof that Paul Penders products have ever been tested on animals – in China or anywhere in the world – let them bring it forth. The burden of proof is on PETA.
Meantime, let us reassure you – readers of this blog – that Paul Penders reputation and principles are firmly based on a policy of “No Animal Testing.”
And you should know that even after registering 30 products in the People’s Republic of China, Paul Penders International has never been asked by Chinese authorities to submit products for animal testing.
Stay tuned for more – and please feel free to write to us with your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Blogger Teviot Fairservis.