POM hoax not so wonderful

POM Wonderful has been targeted by US animal rights activists aggrieved at the world-leading pomegranate juice maker's animal research activities. The Animal Rights Militia gained media coverage after it claimed it had contaminated POM Wonderful juices in east coast retail stores.

"POM Wonderful is outraged by the boasts of the Animal Rights Militia," said a spokesman for the company. "If it is a hoax, it is a form of blackmail. If actual contamination has taken place, with the intention of injuring innocent people, it is an act of terrorism. Either way, the Animal Rights Militia is trying to scare and intimidate innocent people. That is criminal behaviour."

POM urged consumers to check the tamper-proof seal on its products before purchase to ensure contamination had not taken place but insisted testing had found no evidence of adulteration.

It said it had been pressured by animal rights activists in recent months after it refused to sign a statement renouncing all animal research.

"POM has funded more than $20 million on research performed at world-class universities, and it will not walk away from its contributions to advancing scientific knowledge," the company said. "The vast majority of POM research involves human studies, which has led to breakthrough results on prostate cancer and heart disease, among other findings. Only a small fraction of POM's research involves testing on animals, though it never includes dogs, cats or primates. When animals are involved, testing follows well-established scientific protocol and every effort is made to insure that no harsh or cruel methods are performed.

POM said its employees and their families had been harassed, resulting in a California court issuing an injunction against the protestors.

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