(Copyright 1997. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

April 7, 1997

Eastern students plan pen protest

By BRIAN LARUE
Tattoo Staff Writer

  Students at Bristol Eastern High School are
taking strides to help curb product testing on
animals by one of the nation's largest pen
manufacturers.
  Earthlings, a student environmental group, is
sponsoring a “pen swap” next week in hopes of
encouraging their peers to trade in pens made by
Bic, which tests its ink on animals, with those
from Pilot, which does not. 
  Based on information received from PETA
(People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)
Internet site, which told of Bic testing ink in
the eyes of rabbits and beagles, Eastern
sophomore Jen Regan hatched the idea.
  "I wanted to collect Bic's pens, but I didn't
think that people would do it without the
incentive," says Regan, "so I thought up the pen
swap."
  Sophomore Sarah DiVenere thought of sending
the collected pens back to Bic along with a
cover letter and a petition. Jess Mikes, also a
sophomore, set to work contacting pen companies,
asking about their animal testing policies.
  Flo Hansen, Pilot's public relations director,
sent Mikes 1,032 pens, asking for the results in
return, for use in the company's records.
  Mikes said Hansen referred to Pilot as "one of
the few that doesn't" test on animals.
  The movement took a dramatic turn in late
March after receiving information from Bic,
which claimed that animal testing is required by
law "...to determine the safety... of any new
formulations for... inks or correction fluids." 
  "There is no ongoing testing," the statement
says, contrary to PETA's claims.
  After hearing Bic’s response, the organizers
decided to find out more.
  PETA told them that Gillette, owned by Bic,
and Pilot, use older test data so that they can
dodge the law mentioned by Bic. With this
statement, Earthlings decided to continue with
its project.
  "If  Pilot and Gillette can get around [the
law]," questions Mikes, "then why can't Bic?"
  The April 14-18 swap will initially be
contained at Eastern, but if it is successful,
Earthlings will try to push the concept at
Central, St. Paul's, and even local businesses.
  Mikes says that they aim to make a move
against product testing on animals in general.
"We're using Bic as an example," she says,
citing the widespread use of Bic products.
  "The first goal of the pen swap is to get
people to stop buying from Bic," says DiVenere.
  "The main goal," adds Mikes, "is that through
a boycott, we can get them to stop the testing
completely.
     "I hope it'll bring about some awareness,"
she said.
  
  

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