Produce Farmers Are Being Forced to Fund Horrific Animal Tests

Experimenters are douching, poisoning, force-feeding, starving, irradiating, bleeding, suffocating, beheading, and dissecting animals purportedly to market health claims to consumers about blueberries, watermelons, and other common foods. PETA has sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging him to abolish what effectively amounts to a draconian “tax” on farmers who must pay for these cruel tests and forever end this senseless bloodshed.

Mice in gloved hand (left), blueberries growing on green branch (right)

After you’ve taken action on PETA’s alert, please politely urge the agricultural commodity research and promotion boards below to stop paying for all tests on animals.

Take Action

Here are some talking points to get you started:

  • [Name of the board] has funded animal tests in an attempt to establish human health claims for marketing [the fruit/vegetable that the board represents], but this is misleading because there are drastic physiological differences between species.
  • [Name of the board] uses the mandatory assessment fees paid by the farmers to fund these animal tests, so it effectively serves as a draconian “tax” on struggling farming communities.
  • [The fruit/vegetable that the board represents] is a common food with a long history of safe human consumption. Researchers could have instead pursued safe and effective human studies, which would yield superior, human-relevant results.
  • The Hass Avocado Board, another major agricultural commodity research and promotion board, recently adopted a public policy that bans funding or conducting animal tests. I urge your board to take the same progressive position and ban them, too.
  • The majority of Americans oppose animal testing. We as consumers don’t want to be misled by health claims based on unreliable animal experiments.
  • Dozens of major food and beverage manufacturers have already prohibited animal testing to establish health claims for marketing products and ingredients.
  • Please adopt a public policy that bans the conducting, funding, and commissioning of all animal tests.

Below, please see the list of agricultural boards, their social media pages and phone numbers, and examples of animal tests (references) that they have funded.

U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council

Experimenters fed rats strawberries or blueberries, forced them to grab wires while suspended and struggle to walk on rods that rotated at an accelerated speed, injected them with a chemical, and killed and dissected them. Five rats were killed before the end of the experiment because of excessive weight loss.

Call 916-983-0111

The Mushroom Council

Experimenters fed pigs white button mushrooms, repeatedly poked their anuses, took their blood, and killed and dissected them.

Call 816-251-4512

National Mango Board

Experimenters injected mice with cancer cells, repeatedly force-fed them mango extracts, and killed and dissected them.

Call 407-629-7318, extension 102

Comment on instagram

National Watermelon Promotion Board

Experimenters fed rats an artery-blocking diet with or without watermelon, suffocated them, took their blood, and dissected them.

Call 407-657-0261, extension 206

United Sorghum Checkoff Program

Experimenters fed rats sorghum bran and a chemical that induces colitis and then killed and dissected them.

Call 806-687-8727

Comment on instagram

United Soybean Board

Experimenters fed genetically modified mice who were prone to cystic fibrosis a soy ingredient or a laxative and then killed and dissected them. Forty-nine animals died from the disease before experimenters were able to kill them.

Call 1-800-989-USB1

Washington Red Raspberry Commission

Experimenters fed mice a high-fat diet with raspberry purée, starved them, took their blood, and killed and dissected them. (Note: After the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Processed Raspberry Council was disbanded in 2019, the Washington Red Raspberry Commission took over its research projects, including this experiment. See the funding credit here.)

Call 360-354-8767


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind