Story of the Day

Food companies carry out cruel animal experiments

Jun 25

Written by:
25/06/2013 10:29  RssIcon

Research released by campaign group BUAV has shown that cruel animal tests are being carried out by some of the world's leading food companies.

Yakult, Danone, Nestlé and Unilever are named as those carrying out animal experiments in an attempt to identify the ‘health benefits’ of certain foods to feed the growing infatuation with ‘super foods’.

Campaigners have found that companies are becoming increasingly interested in assessing whether foods are ‘good for you’ and want to be able to make claims about their products and exploit the discovery of a so-called ‘health benefit’. 

Animals were said to be suffering the painful effects of conditions such as colitis and stomach injury as researchers induced a variety of animals including mice, rats, rabbits and pigs with chemicals or infectious bacteria. 

Other experiments involved genetically engineering animals to possess human genes.

The BUAV Head of Science Dr Katy Taylor stated:

'The public will be shocked to learn that these well-known and familiar high street brands are involved in sickening experiments on animals. It is unacceptable that animals should be made to suffer by companies in an effort to make 'health benefit' claims about their products."

She added that "The BUAV is calling on all food giants to immediately stop experimenting on animals to test food products and ingredients by switching to humane alternatives or using existing data.”


Examples uncovered in the report included the following:

  • Unilever commissioned research to investigate products containing Hoodia gordonii, a spiny African shrub (which is already used as a weight management supplement for the treatment of obesity), rabbits and mice were subjected to a reproductive toxicity test. Pregnant rabbits and mice were force fed extracts of the plant throughout their pregnancy for 25 days. The day before the animals were due to give birth, they and their unborn foetuses were killed and examined.


  • Yakult commissioned research in order to determine if consuming Yakult’s probiotic yoghurt drink can protect humans from stomach injury, rats were starved for 20 hours and then force-fed a single dose of probiotic bacteria, through a stainless steel tube inserted down their throats into their stomachs. Two hours later, their stomachs were damaged when they were force fed a solution containing hydrochloric acid. The animals were left to suffer for one hour before they were killed so that their stomachs could be dissected and examined. 


  • Nestle commissioned research to explore the anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of Goji berries (also called wolfberries), mice were fed a new preparation created by Nestlé called Lacto-Wolfberry, (a water-dispersible powder containing 50% wolfberry and 25% skimmed milk). After seven days of feeding, the mice were given an injection of a chemical irritant directly into their rectums to cause colon disease. Due to the resulting abdominal pain, the mice stopped eating and had to be force-fed the Lacto-Wolfberry for the next five days. The animals were then killed and their colons dissected.


  • Danone commissioned research in an attempt to prove that the consumption of a new multi-nutrient drink created by Danone (FortasynTM Connect) can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, three-month old mice, who had been genetically modified to develop certain characteristics of Alzheimer’s, were fed the drink for three months. Some of the mice died for unknown reasons during the experiment. At the end of the study, the animals were killed and their brains dissected and analysed for signs of improvement.

Campaigners say that such animal ‘models’ are poor representations of complex and long-running human conditions. This type of research is not only cruel but also unnecessary as many of the health benefits of food and probiotics are already known from existing human data. Since these foods are already being consumed by consumers it is entirely possible to use human trials to assess the positive effects on skin, obesity, stomach problems and colitis.

This story has been added to our corporate database. The database powers all our live product guides, giving the score for each company on our rankings tables.

Visit the animal rights section of our website.

See also the Lush Prize website. The Lush Prize rewards those working to end animal testing.



Register on the site to receive our free monthly email newsletter and keep up-to-date with all our research and campaigning.




Corporate Story of the Day

11 May 2016

Corporate Story of the Day to merge with Latest News  

Aldi commits to sourcing 'sustainable' bananas

05 May 2016

Company opts for Rainforest Alliance accredited produce

Mitsubishi cheating tests since 1991

26 April 2016

Over 25 years of false results

John West tuna linked to destructive fishing device

25 April 2016

Supplier found using indiscriminate fishing methods 

Behind the Brands Campaign

21 April 2016

Oxfam rates the farming policies of the big ten food companies

UK companies criticised over workers' rights in Qatar

18 April 2016

Concerns raised over actions of gulf state subsidiaries 

Co-op Bank CEO £4m pay award

01 April 2016

Excessive pay despite mounting losses 

Great Western Railway advert banned

31 March 2016

Company sanctioned over misleading claim 

Wendy's Boycott

30 March 2016

Campaign launched against fast food giant

New campaign demands HSBC to quit coal

24 March 2016

HSBC is biggest investor in coal out of the five big banks

Lidl accused of paying low wages to garment workers

15 March 2016

The true cost of cheap jeans

Morrisons and Amazon announce deal

10 March 2016

Supermarket to sell food on Amazon site 

Amazon workers aim to unionise

09 March 2016

Campaigners launch new website 

Companies failing the rainforest

07 March 2016

New report slams corporates over palm oil sourcing 

Airbnb under fire for listing properties in occupied territories

29 February 2016

Sign the petition to stop Airbnb profiting from illegal settlements

Oil spill in Peruvian Amazon

25 February 2016

Crude oil spills into Amazonian region from Petroperu pipeline

Johnson and Johnson sued over cancer death

24 February 2016

Judge rules company responsible for death linked to talcum powder 

Asda removes food bank collection points

19 February 2016

Asda's company policy changes across UK without notice

Ikea accused of European-wide tax dodge

17 February 2016

New research from the Green Party reveals extent of avoidance

Disney subsidiary to be prosecuted over worker injury

11 February 2016

Star Wars makers in court over broken leg

Starbucks lose discrimination case

10 February 2016

Starbucks fail to make reasonable adjustments for dyslexic employee 

Fairphone begins sourcing Fairtrade gold

09 February 2016

Announcement marks breakthrough in electronics industry

GE receives taxpayer subsidies while resisting toxic cleanup

05 February 2016

Company spends millions on lobbying while delaying restoration work 

Monsanto covertly funding pro-GM campaigns

02 February 2016

Company accused of paying academics for positive coverage

Government met with Google 25 times before tax deal

29 January 2016

Daily Mirror investigation reveals extent of Google lobbying


Tesco breaches supermarket code

26 January 2016

Company delays payments and makes deductions 

Google deal on tax "derisory"

25 January 2016

Company pays 3% of what it is said to owe 

Richest corporations fail on supply chain management

21 January 2016

Companies not doing enough to ensure worker safety and human rights despite soaring profits

Electronics giants linked to cobalt mined by children

19 January 2016

New Amnesty report finds labour rights issues in supply chain

Oil giants spend billions on lobbying in California

15 January 2016

Environmental legislation challenged by companies 

Renault factories raided by police

14 January 2016

Fraud investigators check emissions monitoring equipment 

Amazon sanctioned by US Labour Department

13 January 2016

Federal government issues fine 

McDonald's receives formal complaint

12 January 2016

Fast food giant accused of unfair contracts for franchisees

Change your shoes

07 January 2016

New campaign tackles working conditions in the shoe industry

Apple to pay out following tax fraud investigation

30 December 2015

Italian investigators say company failed to pay €318m

Toxic chemicals found in sanitary products

29 December 2015

Monsanto herbicide identified by study

Amazon and eBay sellers avoiding VAT

28 December 2015

Companies under investigation over outstanding bills 

Netflix accused of avoiding UK corporation tax

23 December 2015

Investigation finds sales booked in Luxembourg

German Amazon workers on strike

22 December 2015

Walk out over pay and conditions


Companies accused of deliberately starting fires

21 December 2015

Asia Pulp & Paper's supplier accused of burning peat lands

Misleading energy claims on lighting products

18 December 2015

Tests show that some light bulbs don't perform as stated 

Starbucks’ deforestation-free pledge is woefully inadequate, coalition says

17 December 2015

Stronger policy needed to protect forests, wildlife, public health and climate


Amazon sold illegal weapons

16 December 2015

Investigation finds company potentially breaking the law

Sports Direct accused of “effectively” paying below minimum wages

10 December 2015

Guardian investigation finds temporary staff are searched daily 

Cadbury's owner paid no corporation tax in 2014

09 December 2015

Mondelez avoids tax despite £96.5m profit

Toy manufacturers found mistreating workers

30 November 2015

Undercover investigation reveals abuses in supply chain

Labour Boycott G4S

26 November 2015

Party cites human rights issues

Co-op Bank closes campaigners accounts

25 November 2015

Bank faces legal action for alleged discrimination

Boycott of Ben & Jerry's called

18 November 2015

Campaign claims mismatch between policy and practice

Veolia withdraws from Israel

17 November 2015

Company ends links with controversial project

Barclays divest from Israeli arms company

16 November 2015


Bank no longer holds shares in Elbit Systems

RBS slammed for investment in nuclear weapons

12 November 2015

New 'Banking on the Bomb' report

APL settles over failure to deliver on contract

02 November 2015

Shipping company do not admit liability

Problems persist in Apple supply chain

30 October 2015

Re-investigation of factory shows poor working conditions 

Bacardi target of campaign over working conditions

29 October 2015

Sugarcane workers dying from kidney disease

Amazon face court action over courier's pay

28 October 2015

Web giant sued for back pay and expenses

Apple accused of hoarding profits and harming the real economy

27 October 2015

Researchers say the company has the resources to develop economies

Monsoon tops list of wage law breakers

26 October 2015

Company fails to pay minimum wage

SeaWorld banned from breeding orcas

23 October 2015

Ruling hailed as victory for animal rights

New palm oil plantation destroys local livelihoods

22 October 2015

Luxembourg-based company faces protests over land grab

Morrisons criticised for sale of kangaroo meat

20 October 2015

Supermarket targeted by campaigners

Museum protest over BP human rights record

19 October 2015

Campaigners target oil giant over murder and abduction allegations

Syngenta's unauthorised GM traits get past European regulatory system

16 October 2015

Authorisation process needs overhaul, say European Greens

Employment tribunal rules against Sports Direct

13 October 2015

Former workers awarded compensation

Facebook paid under £5000 in UK corporation tax in 2014

12 October 2015

Company records overall loss in UK of £28.5m

AstraZeneca accused of tax avoidance

09 October 2015

Company pays no UK corporation tax in 2014 after structure change

John West failing the oceans

08 October 2015

Company not living up to sourcing commitments

Mars and Nestlé rocked by slave labour allegations

05 October 2015

Pet food brands using suppliers caught in Thai fishing scandal

Workers sue Monsanto claiming herbicide caused cancer

02 October 2015

Two cases could just be the start

Mulberry accused of failing workers

24 September 2015

Handbag brand slammed for worker exploitation at Turkish factory 

Biggest climate change polluters identified

23 September 2015

65% of industrial CO2 emissions produced by just 50 companies

Volkswagen accused of cheating emissions tests

22 September 2015

Company designed device to deceive tests

Monsanto herbicide listed as "known to cause cancer"

21 September 2015

California Environmental Protection Agency proposes new labelling

Lidl to pay Living Wage

18 September 2015

First UK supermarket to pay higher rate

Top tea brands exposed

09 September 2015

Investigation reveals serious workers' and human rights issues

Airport VAT scam

26 August 2015

World Duty Free Ltd criticised over pricing

Danone, Nestlé and Yakult accused of cruel animal experimentation

25 August 2015

Cruelty Free International releases new research

HESTA divests from Transfield Services

24 August 2015

Company cites detention centre abuses

Starbucks urged to go deforestation free

20 August 2015

Sum of Us launch palm oil campaign  

UK energy company to drill for oil in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara

19 August 2015

"Stop supporting brutal occupation" say protesters

Unilever promises to clear up toxic mess

13 August 2015

But fails to compensate victims of mercury poisoning

Unilever's toxic mercury spill in India

06 August 2015

Calls to compensate victims and clean up mess

Fiat Chrysler given record fine

27 July 2015

Company must pay £67.6m over recall failures  

CitySprint accused of tax avoidance

16 July 2015

Courier company under fire over tax haven loans 

Coca-Cola accused of misleading health claims

14 July 2015

Coke claims diet drinks fight obesity

Iceland to start selling red grouse

10 July 2015

Link to illegal persecution of birds of prey

Worker loses hands making TVs for LG

08 July 2015

Campaigners demand compensation and enforcement of labour protection

EE fined by communications regulator

06 July 2015

Company said to have mislead consumers 

ILO demands Qatar Airways change discriminatory contracts

26 June 2015

Clause breaches ILO convention against discrimination at work 

Amazon's UK tax bill revealed

25 June 2015

Internet giant paid just £11.9m in 2014

Mining company Paladin reduces Malawi tax bill by $43m

19 June 2015

Tax breaks allows company to avoid paying taxes in world’s poorest country

Drug giant Pfizer buying antibiotics from dangerous factories

12 June 2015

Report exposes big pharma’s murky supply chain

YSL advert banned for using unhealthily underweight model

03 June 2015

Advertising Standards Agency considered ad to be irresponsible

Lawsuit brought against Yahoo

01 June 2015

Judge rules in favour of privacy class action lawsuit against Yahoo over emails

Anderson accused of promoting tax avoidance

29 May 2015

Company hit by BBC sting operation

Five of world's biggest banks fined $5.7 billion

22 May 2015

Fined for manipulating foreign exchange rates

Next loses battle with HMRC over tax avoidance scheme

20 May 2015

Next used “artificial steps” to inflate value of tax relief

Copenhagen council staff boycott Ryanair

19 May 2015

Mayor accuses company of paying poor salaries

Pizza Hut franchisee and unsustainable palm oil

18 May 2015

Campaigners urge food giant to follow through on commitments

Zara Brasil labour rights violations found

13 May 2015

New report accuses company of not monitoring its supply chain effectively