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PETA Ends Protests of Automaker

February 19, 1993

DETROIT (AP) _ An animal rights group ended 18 months of protests against General Motors Corp. on Thursday over the automaker’s use of live animals in crash tests.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said it had received a sworn statement Wednesday from GM saying it had stopped using animals in trauma tests more than a year ago and that it had no plans to resume such testing.

The tests, which involved swine, ferrets and other animals, helped GM build its database to create the crash dummies it uses, spokesman Jerry Bishop said.

He said GM will continue to use animals in toxicology tests that help determine the safety of its various workplaces. PETA doesn’t object to those tests.

PETA, which has staged loud protests at various auto shows and other events where GM has been present since September 1991, handed out flowers outside GM’s headquarters Thursday, thanking GM for ending the tests.

The group focused on GM because it said the automaker was alone in using live animals in trauma testing.

Bishop said he thinks there may have been a misunderstanding by PETA over what GM has been doing and for how long.

″I think the word trauma testing and animal testing may have confused some folks in PETA,″ he said.

Not so, said group spokeswoman Lisa Lange.

″There have been several times in the past that GM has said it has stopped trauma testing, but we’ve got government documents from the Department of Agriculture that proves that’s untrue,″ she said.

The difference this time, Lange said, is GM’s written statement containing the precise wording PETA demanded on ending trauma testing.

Bishop said GM ended trauma testing of animals because it was no longer needed, not because of animal rights opposition.

″We don’t make business decisions based on how others feel about the way we do business,″ he said.

Among its protests, PETA members smashed old GM cars outside auto shows, interrupted the GM float in last year’s Rose Bowl Parade and spilled fake blood on animal skins outside last year’s GM annual meeting in Indiana.