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Animal Testing for Artificial Butter Flavoring?

Written by PETA | September 23, 2007

PETA’s regulatory testing division recently fired off a letter to Samuel H. Wilson, acting director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), urging him to cancel planned experiments on mice involving artificial butter flavoring and its ingredients. Yes, I said artificial butter flavoring, the stuff in microwave popcorn.

One ingredient in artificial butter flavoring, diacetyl, is suspected of causing a debilitating—and sometimes deadly—lung disease in dozens of workers and now possibly in consumers as well, and the NIEHS’ knee-jerk reaction is simply to do more animal tests. Keep in mind that producers accounting for 80 percent of the market for this product have already stopped using diacetyl or announced plans to do so, and as our regulatory testing watchdogs pointed out, in experiments that have already been conducted, mice who were forced to inhale diacetyl didn’t develop the same symptoms of obliterative bronchiolitis (OB) that humans did. It sounds like the NIEHS has never heard Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote that goes something like this, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for different results.”

In response to PETA’s warnings—which were originally submitted to the NIEHS’ National Toxicology Program (NTP) in May—one scientist acknowledged that although “it’s not clear how one would extrapolate findings from the animal studies to humans. … [T]hat does not lessen my enthusiasm for this study.” In our newest letter, we point out that while the NTP conducts cruel experiments on mice, workers—and possibly consumers—will remain at risk for OB. How about we cut to the chase and instead of conducting irrelevant animal experiments and further delaying the protection of workers and consumers who are exposed to diacetyl, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration immediately rescind its “generally recognized as safe” designation for the chemical?

Jessica Sandler, PETA’s director of regulatory testing said it best,

“There’s a crisis looming for countless workers and consumers who are exposed to diacetyl, and once again, the government’s answer is to try to mimic in animals the effects already seen in people. Not only is this completely illogical approach blatantly cruel, it also directly jeopardizes the health of the citizens that the agency is charged with safeguarding.”

I’ll keep you posted as this case develops, and in the meantime, here’s a great page about PETA’s behind-the-scenes battle to stop animal testing.

Commenting is closed.
  • VictoriaColewood says:

    It just adds more evidence that the reassurances that animal testing is kept to a mimimum is brutally untrue. They will be used in all sorts of situations eevn at the risk of human health. The best thing to do is to write to the company and your representatives and boycott the product. I had a reply from Mary Kay this today stating that they only test when required to by law, ie in China, so why break into another Country when it will jepordise customer confidence over here?

  • Ali4rryAnimals says:

    I dont understand how people could be so cruel to animals and use their bodies to test on products for selfish people.

  • Ali4rryAnimals says:

    I dont understand how people could be so cruel to animals and use their bodies to test on products for selfish people.

  • Kgirrrl97 says:

    that is just downright stupid why people would do that…

  • tiff says:

    hey michele thats stupid animal testing dosnt control populations when they are raised for the sole purpose to be tortured! hunting dosnt bother me but you saying that thats why people hurt animals for population issues does!

  • Anonymous says:

    how do you kill animals for testing!!!!!!!!

  • Chloe says:

    I guess it’s hard to understand this but although hunting is cruel it is also an ancient way to stave off hunger. So sure modern Americans don’t need to hunt anymore because we have domesticated farm animals but something to consider is the fact that the domesticated farm animals we’ll just keep factory farms out of the picture for right now are going to be killed as well. So take your pick. There is no way to insist that all human beings stop eating animals especially since we evolved TO eat animals to eat whatever we could get our hands on. Vegetarianism is great but animals WILL be eaten and hunting WILL happen whether it’s on a farm or in the woods. On another aspect of this discussion to keep in consideration is the fact that deer really are overpopulated. Since humans have built up huge cities and suburbias to accommodate themselves the REAL predators of deer have been chased off. I live in a suburbia that is overrun with deer and besides the fact that they are a terror for anyone growing a garden or farm in the area they also are very dangerous for pedestrians cyclists and motorists. I do not blame the deer no they are only making due with what they’ve been given but it is not true that they are no problem whatsoever. We have thrown the whole system off balance and now we need to do something about it. There are many options that do not support hunting and these are great to consider. Still no one has acted them out yet. If you feel so strongly about it you should go somewhere where deer population actually IS a problem where there is a current debate about hunting or where hunting is happening and then find another method to help out. If you say that “human lovers should go to hell” then I don’t even know what to say back to you. So you think all humans should die? That is ridiculous. You’re as bad as anyone else. The argument can never be won unless both sides concede that the other side has at least gotten SOMETHING right. Taking sides will get you no where.

  • Andy says:

    If we find an ingredient is harming humans why would we test it out on animals. According to the “scientists” doing this barbaric research animals would likely respond like humans. If we are getting lung disease from it what good is it to then pump it into animals. What could they possibly learn that they dont already know???? Personally I think these people just get off on being paid to torture animals.

  • Susannah S says:

    Kevin did it ever occur to you that exists BECAUSE there were hunters and slaughterhouses and trappers and all the other vast assortments of inhumane humans? Also WHAT does your hunting rant have to do with the topic of testing on mice? Um…Zodiac “human lovers”? There is no disconnect between caring about animals and caring about people. All of it is part of a more compassionate life. No? Animal testing is cruel and unnecessary there are plenty of lab “models” to use now that don’t involve animal testing. Dr. Cochran don’t look at you? Ok but if you don’t mind I might take a hard look at your colleagues who walk handinhand with the pharmaceutical companies that perpetuate animal testing.

  • Russell says:

    i think Kevin is missing the boat here….Vegetarians do more to help world hunger than anyone else on the earth….EVERY SINGLE DAY we dont support inefficient food sources read up on the facts THENN post a blog comment….

  • Ariel says:

    Well I see that the “hunters” so to speak have conveniently ignored the title of this subject to once again defend their bloodlusts. I also see that fellow animal activists have more than adequately and intelligently addressed the “hunters” with all the truths justifications logical points. So that doesn’t leave me with much to say except that “hunters” should admit to a few more facts that don’t gloss over their stance by using “nice” terms and promoting selfglorification 1. “bagging” is killing. 2. so “hunters” are killers. 3. “hunters” or I should say killers spend enormous amounts of money only to mention a few for their killing devices licenses special clothing travel expenses and sometimes lodging expenses. Upon the first days of a certain killing season it is known that the amount of them suddenly being absent from their places of employmentgreatly disrupts their fellow coworkers thus causing a heavier workload on them as well as imposing an economical burden on their employers due to lack of production. From the financial point of view “hunters” spend more money to satisfy their bloodlust and butchering than could ever possibly be compared to their “generous” donations of corpses to feed the hungry that they are so worried about. That portrays a poor attempt at justifying their craving to kill and tells of their need for selfglorification…since they need to brag about their malicious efforts and sometimes have to have their pictures in the newpaper with their corpses. So instead of spending all that money for killing expenses since they have such a great concern about feeding the poor that makes me wonder why they don’t just go to a grocery store to purchase food items for the poor and still have enough money to buy clothes for the poor as well. “Hunters” try as you might there is no justification or sane excuse for killing. Therefore there is nothing to debate. You are wrong and need to come to terms with your conscience as to why you have a desire to kill innocent beings. Perhaps you have a need to fulfill a sense of power. Well killing innocent beings is very much the opposite approach to fulfill needs that would enhance your heroic manhood or womanhood Instead working towards being a quality leader for the betterment of your communites would be a lot more notable and memorable…because do you honestly think that you will ever be emulated and rememebered for killing innocent animals? And please don’t let your rifles be easily accessible to your children. They might become the next child on the news who is the focus of going on a schoolshooting ramage.

  • halo snipe says:

    When they confirm they try to find side effects. The reason we don’t test on humans is because a human’s life is more valuable than a common animal. Without confirmation your next unrefined Rx could kill you. Still almost all of the tests aren’t needed. Oh and hunterhunter person have you any idea what Communism really is? The only idiots are the capitalists and the U.S govt.

  • Craig says:

    I have visited this site in past months and took the time to watch some of the videos eg fur farms and medical experiments and found them to be quite horrifying. That people are allowed do commit such atrocities to animals is beyond my comprehension. Having said that I ask that you give me audience for my personal opinion. In essence I agree with the opinions expressed here on the majority of the issues that this site addresses. I’m not certain what percentage of people that subscribe to PETA’s idealsopinions believe in GOD as in the Cristian God Jehovah but I personally believe he exists. He commanded people in the bible to be loving and kind to all of their animals which I do to the best of my abilities I adopt abandoned Ferrets from time to time. He also allows for us to use animals for food as in milk eggs meat clothing etc…. I Personally for whatever reason seem to be losing interest in meat as time goes on. I couldn’t tell you why and I’m sure that news will delight some of you here… winks. Now while I may be able to substitute vegetation for meat there are others that cannot. I would point to the Inuit Indians eskimo’s as an example and ask the solution for their consumption of meat. Should we keep warming the environment until it’s warm enough to force them to grow their own soy and stop killing seals for food? Or force them to migrate south to a warmer climate as in trail of tears where they can now grow their own soy? Or is it OK for them to KEEP existing as they have for the last several thousand years? And if the LATTER is OK then shouldn’t it be OK for ME to eat meat? Now I wasn’t trying to be insulting here merely ridiculous enough to cause people to think.

  • BullyDawg says:

    I see “Anonymous” was blindly directed to this site by the hunting lobby…so Anonymous what’s your take on animal testing? You know the actual subject of the post?!?! Never mind I think I can guess…

  • Anonymous says:

    i think animal testing is so cruel it should not be done no matter what happens WE DON”T NEED IT

  • Hugo Pottisch says:

    To Anoymous i am a hunterhunter I hunt hunters and have an impressive display of stuffed hunters at home. I got American rednecks Nazis Communists and even some Aborigines hanging on my walls. we need hunterhunters to keep down idiot populations. natural predators can’t do it alone as the idiots have weapons themselves these days. if for example hunter populations got too high then they would eat up entire forests killing them as has already happened to the Rainforest for our burgers. and the next time a forest fire came around what do you think would happen? it would be enormous! it would destroy far more than the few hunter we hunterhunters might have killed. I love hunting hunters! You know why? Cause when you kill one you can always blame it on Dick! PS I did NOT know that artificial butter flavors are tested on mice in such an insane way.. I avoid artificial ingredients like I avoid needles used by HIV patients but I have recommended some such products to friends who wanted to cut down on “real butter”…

  • Christopher H. says:

    “natural predators can’t do it alone. iffor example deer populations got too high then they would eat up entire forests killing them. and the next time a forest fire came around what do you think would happen? it would be enormous! it would destroy far more than the few deer we hunters might have killed.” Sir not only are you extremely underestimating Nature to take care of itself without human intervention…you are also justifying the killing of deer based on some bizarre future world where deer overpopulation seems to take over the world. Considering that there has NEVER been a deer overpopulation in all of history what about all of the other animals that we don’t hunt that populate forests and jungles…should we start hunting them as well because if we don’t they’ll overpopulate the world? There are no facts or statistics that indicate if we stop hunting deer they will eat our forests away. As far as forest fires…you contradict yourself. If we are overpopulated by deer and they eat away our forests…there will be nothing to burn. If you hunt the deer and there is a forest fire. There will be no deer to die in such a fire. Besides…where do forest fires come from anyway? Usually from Man the same species that is killing the deer. From where I sit Nature would take care of itself and be just fine if we left it alone. Peace.

  • Christopher Cochran MD says:

    Hey don’t look at me. The only research I’ve ever been involved in was on humans.

  • Susannah S says:

    Diacetyl? I thought that had been outlawed years ago! But what an absurd test not only in its cruelty to the mice but by the very nature of it in its disregard for the humans affected by this chemical. DUH! If it’s causing distress why don’t they just not use it? I believe that many of these “tests” just exist to keep the labs and their workers in business. This sounds like one of them!

  • Kevin says:

    You people who actually believe these anti hunting stories and how it is on the decline are out of your minds!! Most of you who do believe this BS are living in a concrete jungle and have forgotten that there is a great big world beyond the city lights and your little greenie cars!! Maybe instead of locking up MILLIONS of acres of huntable land none of you will ever see try focusing your attention on some thing like starvation of humans. Since many of the national parks that outrage you because they are hunted are so large and remote that 99 of birdwatchers will have no desire in spending the money to reach simply because they can go to thier local park and feed the little birdies. Many of the “trophy hunters” you claim that kill innocent animals purely for the trophy donate the meat to grateful shelters and soup kitchens. Get a clue and realize that there are other things to focus money too. Without the killing of animals not one of you POS would be on this planet today. Before there was hunters and there will be long after your soy fields are no longer harvested because the farmers you get the soy milk from are out HUNTING!!!!! Now your chicken S$t moderator will probably delete this but at least they read it!!

  • jason says:

    these lab rats were bred for testing. makes me feel better also agree with anonymous if the deer population is not kept in check how you going to feel about that deer as a new hood ornament on your car this is happening in the mid west were the deer population is very high

  • Russell says:

    anonymous…what the hell are you talking about…animals were controlling their own populations loooooooong before your country ass picked up a gun. Your comment is asinine. Humans do far more harm than good. Animals are a lot more intelligent than we are in terms of conservation and taking only what you need and living SUSTAINABLE lives. We do not do that. You’re hunting doesn’t help so don’t even try it. Oh and next time big hunter man grow a pair and dont post Anonymously… PS why dont you set up a hunting trip with Dick Cheney!!!!

  • zodiac says:

    animal testing is the most useless and cruel thing humans can do today. oh it has to be safe for humans? only stupid selfcentered human lovers believe that bullshit. all animal cruelty should stop! and human lovers go to hell!

  • Jason Levy says:

    Hey Michele You should check out “Animal Liberation” if you haven’t already! Jason

  • sherri says:

    I still cannot understand how anyone who does these animal testings could sleep at night.

  • bluebird says:

    Animals’ reaction to these things are always different from human reactions for this reason all the animaltested products have to be retested on humans again and again!!! but these mentally deficient taillights do it again and again and make me and the animals sickkkkkk!

  • Anonymous says:

    i am a hunter. we need hunters to keep down animal populations. natural predators can’t do it alone. iffor example deer populations got too high then they would eat up entire forests killing them. and the next time a forest fire came around what do you think would happen? it would be enormous! it would destroy far more than the few deer we hunters might have killed.

  • Michele says:

    I have just about finished reading “Sacred Cows and Golden Geese” at the suggestion of another animal rights activist on these blogs and it is beyond me how ANYONE can allow animal testing for drugs food cosmetics or whatever to continue. Animal tests have NEVER contributed to what we have learned about medical science researchers who have a vested interest in producing “results” so that they can continue to receive research dollars will usually try to “confirm” what scientists have already learned from nonanimal methods such as “in vitro” testing and clinical observation. What is mindblowing is that they often have to “confirm” the results by testing on numerous species of animals just to find one species that responds the “correct” way to whatever treatment is being tested. It is absolutely criminal! Millions of people have suffered andor died due to continued reliance on animal testing either because the “safe” treatment proves to be harmfulfatal or because continued emphasis of research dollars on animal testing means there is much less money for nonanimal research and therefore legitimate research is delayed sometimes for decades! And of course in the meantime billions of lab animals are subjected to horrific tests that will be useless in the end anyway. I strongly recommend this book to every animal rights individual and to anyone who is not quite there but is looking for more information.