The practice of California fruit growers funding research that involves animal testing is coming under fire by People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals.
PETA says the testing is unnecessary, wasteful and could be done on humans. Proponents of animal testing say the work is important and could help solve several chronic health problems.
Documents show some of the research funded by the California Table Grape Commission in Fresno involves feeding mice and rats grapes or grape powder to test its effect on combating kidney disease, high blood pressure and heart disease.
In a recent letter to the table grape commission and the Watsonville-based California Strawberry Commission, PETA urged them to stop funding that type of research. PETA officials said Thursday that the two organizations agreed.
"California's Strawberry and Table Grape commissions did the right thing in ending cruel animal tests, which are irrelevant to human health, a waste of funds and not required by any law," says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo.
Kathleen Nave, president of the grower-funded California Table Grape Commission, declined to comment on PETA's statement. But in an email to PETA officials on March 9, Nave wrote: "I don't know if it is possible to promise that the commission will not be involved in future animal studies, but I can tell you that our interest at this point is only in funding human studies."
Nave went on to say in the email that any of the animal studies the commission funded followed the required Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee guidelines for animal testing.
Officials with the Strawberry Commission could not be reached for comment Thursday.