Dawn Kills Animals

Dawn Commercial
© Doris Lin 2009

Proctor and Gamble tests on animals, they don't want to stop, but they want the public to think they are animal-friendly.

Last night, I saw a very disturbing commercial for Dawn dishwashing liquid. The commercial claims that thousands of animals caught in oil spills have been saved by being washed in their dishwashing liquid. The video depicts a penguin, a duckling and an otter, all covered with oil, being bathed with their dishwashing liquid.

In the "before" video, you can see how the duckling stumbles and struggles to walk. In tiny letters at the bottom of the screen, it says, "simulated demonstration." This was not footage of an actual rescue. They intentionally covered at least three animals with tempera paint and corn syrup to simulate oil, just so they could wash them on camera. If Dawn really is used to wash oil off of animals, why couldn't they use footage of an actual rescue? The company then has the audacity to put up a website at DawnSavesWildlife.com, extolling their role in wildilfe rescue.

Meanwhile, Proctor and Gamble, the parent corporation that owns Dawn, continues to test on animals and defends animal testing: "We must conduct research involving animals to ensure materials are safe and effective." Not to be branded monsters, they have joined with The Humane Society of the United States in a partnership "committed to the elimination of animal use for consumer product safety evaluation." I'm guessing that this guarantees that HSUS will not target P&G in any campaigns.

P&G, if you were really committed to the elimination of animal testing, you would stop it. Today. Now. Stop the lip service. Stop pretending.

What you can do: Boycott Proctor & Gamble products. Contact Proctor & Gamble at 513-983-1100 or via email at comments.im@pg.com (Update: It appears that P&G has now disabled this email address), to tell them you are boycotting all of their products until they stop testing on animals.

It's not always easy to tell which brands are owned by P&G and the list is always changing, so try to familiarize yourself with this list, from the official P&G website. Dozens of brands are part of the P&G corporation, including Dawn, Gillette, Cover Girl, Pampers, Tampax, Clairol, Febreeze, Tide, Mr. Clean, ​Crest and others. Iams and Eukanuba are also owned by P&G and sponsor the Iditarod, so there are at least two reasons to boycott these two brands.

Even better, boycott all companies that test on animals. Two apps available on iTunes make it easy to carry around a list of companies that don't test on animals. Cruelty-Free and BNB (short for "Be Nice to Bunnies") are both compatible with the iPhone or the iPod touch.

July 21, 2009 Update: I just spoke to Cory, a representative at P&G, and told him that I'm not swayed by the "Dawn Saves Wildlife" campaign, and if P&G really cared about animals, they would stop animal testing. Cory was very nice and said that he would pass along my comment. He also said that P&G is required by law to conduct animal testing. I told him that was not true. Federal law requires drugs to be tested on animals, but no law requires household products to be tested on animals.

Cory said that the EPA requires new chemicals to be tested on animals. But that's not the same as requiring all household products to be tested on animals. A dishwashing liquid can be made using known, reliable ingredients, without creating new chemicals. There are lots of cruelty-free companies making the same types of cleaning products that P&G makes, without animal testing. Our very civil conversation ended with my accepting Cory's offer to send me a pamphlet about P&G's animal testing, but turning down his offer of coupons for P&G products.

Regardless of the certification from AHA, the animal rights position is that animals should not be used for entertainment or commercials, and should not be covered with paint or corn syrup.

Correction, July 22, 2009: The original post
incorrectly stated that during the filming of the commercial live animals were covered with oil.

However, according to American Humane Association, the animals were covered with a mixture of tempera paint and corn syrup designed to simulate oil. The original post also suggested that animals may have been injured or killed during the filming of the commercial. American Humane Association was on set to supervise the filming of the commercial and certified that "No animals were harmed" during the taping.

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