Why is Melaleuca included on the “do test” list?

We removed Melaleuca from our list of companies that do not test on animals after learning that it commissioned two animal tests that were not required by law.

In 1996, during the course of litigation with a competing company, Melaleuca commissioned a lethal-dose test on the competitor’s product. The test resulted in the agonizing deaths of 10 rats. In 1997, we learned that Melaleuca had commissioned experiments on dogs for its nutritional product Provex CV.

It seems that every consumer we speak to has heard a different story from Melaleuca about its removal from our “don’t test” list. One common accusation is that we removed the company from the list for washing its employees’ companion animals with dog shampoo. This is not accurate. Using animals in laboratory settings to test products for safety and trying out a product that has already been proved safe through non-animal testing methods on one’s companion animal are two entirely different situations. We would not take issue with the latter scenario, which does not involve harming animals.

It is important to note that Melaleuca used animals for tests while it was included on PETA’s cruelty-free list—after signing our statement of assurance, which indicates that the company will never test on animals, in 1993. Obviously, Melaleuca is willing to make exceptions to its “no animal testing” policy whenever it deems it necessary.

A March 2003 Melaleuca statement titled “Our Position: Firm but Not Extreme” says, “Melaleuca has long taken the position that we will not test our personal care or household products on animals. We feel that is the proper position to take, and you will find us adhering to this policy without hesitation. We feel, however, that there are extremes to every argument. We do not adhere to the extremes. … Nor do we take the position that all scientific use of animals needs to be stopped.”

In a March 2003 letter, Melaleuca freely admits that it commissioned laboratory tests in which rats and dogs were used, stating, “The rats died a horrible death. … Prior to performing human studies to prove Provex CV’s effectiveness, Melaleuca commissioned that the product be tested on dogs first. … In our quest to save life, we refuse to tell PETA that we will never again test our cardiovascular products on animals.”

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