According to a recent article in the Memphis Business Journal, Medtronic, a Fridley, Minnesota-based company, has reached an agreement with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) regarding its treatment of research animals.
Created in 1980, PETA has built an international following of more than 2 million members. With high-profile supporters such as Pamela Anderson and the movement’s sometimes radical protests, PETA has created a name for itself and its defense of animal rights.
How did Medtronic end up in PETA’s spotlight? They are one of the top medical device manufacturers in the world, with products such as valves and pacemakers. These devices are tested on animals, and PETA asked Medtronic to “use only non-animal methods to assess skin corrosion, skin irritation, skin absorption, photoxicity and pyrogenicity.” They also requested that Medtronic “confirm that it is in the company’s best interests to commit to replacing animal-based tests with non-animal methods.”
Medtronic has agreed to meet with PETA twice a year to discuss animal welfare issues as well as work to protect animals used in their overseas contract laboratories. In return, PETA withdrew its shareholder resolution that called for Medtronic to stop outsourcing animal experiments.
With the amount of beneficial and potentially life-saving or life-improving studies that currently require the use of animals as test subjects, the effort to reduce animal suffering is an important and complicated issue. We applaud companies that are making the extra effort to work humanely towards medical progress.