This article appeared in the Sunday Express, 27 May 2001.
Exclusive By Lucy Johnston, Health Editor.
A major sponsor of Crufts dog show has carried out horrific experiments on animals, it can be revealed today.
Thousands of weekend holiday visitors to the famous show at the NEC in Birmingham will be shocked to learn the truth about IAMS, a pet food made by Procter and Gamble.
The Sunday Express has uncovered damning evidence of gruesome tests performed on dogs and cats during the development of the product, which is being heavily promoted at the event. IAMS has also been backed by the RSPCA - but after being told of our findings the animal welfare charity said it would sever all ties.
Last night Crufts organisers launched their own investigation and were considering removing a stand sponsored by Procter and Gamble. In supermarkets and pet shops across Britain, IAMS is being marketed as a breakthrough in animal health care and nutrition.
But our investigation as revealed that hundreds of animals suffered incredible agony in experiments designed to perfect IAMS. A huge dossier of research papers exposes how scientists deliberately induced kidney failure and other conditions in dogs and cats. Some experiments involved performing operations on healthy animals which were later killed.
Last night animal activists and MPs condemned the research.
Campaigner and comedy writer Carla Lane said: "It is horrifying to think people are buying pet food that involves so much experimentation. You don't have to harm animals to find out what's good for them to eat."
And Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker said: "It's ironic to say the least that a company which purports to care for animal is conducting abhorrent animal experiments behind closed doors. Perhaps they should list their experiments on their labels and then see how much they sell."
Animal rights organisation Uncaged Campaigns is to stage a protest at Crufts, distributing leaflets and waving banners highlighting "the suffering behind the science" and urging a boycott.
Director Dan Lyons said: "Even the people representing IAMS at the show are unlikely to know they are promoting a company that inflicts pain and death on animals. Once they see the evidence they will be as appalled as anyone else."
The protest is likely to embarrass the show's organisers who boast a star studded guest list, including Coronation Street's Roy Barraclough (Alec Gilroy), actress Susan George and Eastenders Martin Kemp (Steve Owen) and Pam St Clements (Pat Butcher).
Details of the experiments are buried in obscure scientific papers uncovered by the Sunday Express and Uncaged Campaigns.
In one experiment, 24 young dogs had their right kidneys removed and the left partly damaged to investigate how protein affects dogs with kidney failure. Eight dogs were killed to analyse the kidney tissue.
Dogs which became sick were not treated because it would have undermined the test results.
In another test, the stomachs of 28 cats were exposed so scientists could analyse the effects of feeding them fibre. The animals were operated on for at least two hours and then killed.
The research team sterilised 24 female cats, which were then over-fed until they became obese. They were then starved on a crash diet and when they had lost at least 30 per cent of their weight their livers were examined to investigate the link between weight loss and liver disease. The company also sponsored research in which 14 husky puppies were repeatedly injected with live virus vaccines and allergy-causing proteins for the first 12 weeks of their lives. They developed permanent illnesses in the test, which was designed to see how severely allergic they could become.
Twelve huskies, 12 poodles and 12 labradors were regularly given chest wounds to see if diet could affect fur regrowth. This was justified in the study on the grounds that "dogs are enjoyable to touch and look at... Dogs with coat problems are simply not handled as much."
Dr Dan Cary, Director of technical communications for IAMS said that his company cared about the welfare of animals. He justified the scientific studies as being carried out to save pets from illnesses and improve physical well-being. He said: "Our mission is to enhance the health of dogs and cats. We take their welfare extremely seriously during the studies and don't enter into research lightly. All our studies have to be valid science and we have to be sure they are never repeated as it is wasteful of animal time."
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Please contact IAMS to let them know your disgust at these animal experiments. Phone them on 0800 426 785 (UK) or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.