UPDATE: Victory! POM Promises to End Deadly Animal Tests. Check it.
The recent statement by POM Wonderful’s owners Stewart and Lynda Resnick that “POM Wonderful pomegranate juice has ceased all animal testing and we have no plans to do so in the future” seems pretty great, until you read the fine print.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website, POM made a commitment through June 2007 to an experiment that involves forcing elderly rats to balance on a spinning rod and find a hidden platform in a water maze in order to try not to drown. I’ll get back to you on whether those experiments are still going forward, but so far, POM’s not getting back to us about it, which is ominous—coming from a company that has professed a desire to get out of the whole sordid animal-testing game. And it’s especially ominous when you take into account the fact that POM’s president told a PETA rep last summer that his company could deceive the public by declaring itself “cruelty-free,” while continuing to test on animals through an affiliate set up by the company’s owners.
Why might a company that apparently sees nothing even faintly ridiculous about drowning rats to judge “The Effects of Pomegranate Juice on Cognitive and Motor Deficits in Aging” consider misleading consumers about whether it funds animal tests? My guess is that it has something to do with the fact that Whole Foods threatened to stop selling the juice if POM continued to kill animals in pointless experiments. Whatever the reason, if POM’s intention is indeed to mislead customers who are making a good-faith effort to buy cruelty-free products, they can be certain that we’re not going to just sit back and watch. PETA’s campaign against POM Wonderful will continue until the company signs PETA’s assurance statement pledging an end to all animal tests—something that the company has refused to do so far. Go figure.