Coca-Cola stops funding animal testing: PETA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Coca-Cola Co. KO.N will no longer fund or conduct animal experiments, animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) said on Thursday.

The beverage giant joins rival PepsiCo Inc. PEP.N, which made the same move earlier this month.

Coke does not conduct animal tests and does not directly fund animal tests on its beverages, and is asking its partners and research organizations to use alternatives to animal testing, the company said in a letter provided by PETA.

“Pepsi’s announcement helped to spur Coke along,” said Bruce Friedrich, a vice president of PETA. Coca-Cola could not immediately be reached for comment.

PETA, whose campaign to change practices at Coke and Pepsi lasted about a year, said it would now target consumer products giants Altria Group MO.N and Unilever ULVR.L.

“They’re two of the worst abusers,” Friedrich said. “we will be stepping up our pressure.”

Neither Altria nor Unilever immediately returned calls seeking comment.