Tokyo — “Will Ajinomoto commit to banning all animal testing that is not explicitly required by law, as dozens of other global food and beverage companies have already done?” That’s the question a PETA representative will ask executives of Japanese conglomerate Ajinomoto Co., Inc.—the world’s largest manufacturer of monosodium glutamate (MSG) and owner of packaged frozen-food brands Tai Pei, Ling Ling, and José Olé—at the company’s virtual annual meeting on June 23.
PETA U.S. purchased stock in Ajinomoto last year to urge shareholders to end the company’s experiments on animals. The group has uncovered that since the 1950s, Ajinomoto experimenters have cut open dogs’ stomachs, inserted tubes into them, starved the animals, fed them MSG, taken their stomach fluid, and injected them with drugs, purportedly to establish health claims for marketing the company’s food products and ingredients. Some of Ajinomoto’s other tests involved inserting tubes into day-old piglets’ arteries and starving them, electroshocking rats, and compelling mice to fight each other. These tests are neither relevant to human health nor required by law.
“We don’t need to torture animals in laboratories to make dubious human health claims for marketing foods and beverages,” says PETA U.S. Vice President Shalin Gala. “PETA is calling on Ajinomoto to join dozens of other global food giants that have ended animal tests and switch to more effective, ethical, and economical, non-animal research.”
As PETA notes in the question, Ajinomoto’s newly released animal-testing policy allows for the continuation of nearly all the same tests that it’s been conducting and funding for decades in order to make questionable health claims for marketing its products. The company is violating its own “3R” policy to replace, reduce, and refine the use of animals in experiments by continuing to greenlight the tests while animal-free research methods for these purposes are readily available.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to experiment on”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. The group’s full shareholder question is upon request. For more information, please visit PETAAsia.com or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.