A Catholic line on creatures small

Cristina Odone did not attempt to distinguish between the use and the abuse of animals in her comment on the Huntingdon Life Sciences controversy (29 January).

Speaking of animals at a public audience in 1990, Pope John Paul II declared that "men must love and feel solidarity [my italics] with our smaller brethren". He went on to say that they "merit respect" and are "as near to God as men are". This was reported in the Catholic Times of 9 July 2000.

Drug testing on animals to save both human and animal life is still approved of by a reluctant majority of British people. But dogs are also used to "test" household cleaning products and paint. This is not medical science, it is "novelty product science", lazily inflicted on pitiful, sentient captives purely for the commercial gain of the large detergent companies.

For more than 20 years, the UN award-winning Belgian firm Ecover has manufactured excellent washing-up liquids, detergents and household cleaning products which are effective, safe, completely biodegradable and free from the taint of animal pain. It is now time for all other detergent companies to do the same. It is dreadful to torture dogs just so we can wash up.

Alexandra Artley

This article first appeared in the 05 February 2001 issue of the New Statesman, Laughing all the way to No 10?