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For the Love of Animals- PETA Compassionate Business Award

“We applaud Good Clean Love® for pushing for modern animal-free test methods that are relevant to humans.”  Dr. Amy Clippinger, Director of PETA’s Regulatory Testing Department

Animals are us. And they understand us much more deeply than we often get them.

I was the mother who never said no to another pet. Always intrigued by the wonder that different animals would bring to our home, I would often offer up a new pet as a balm for a range of developmental issues. It’s no wonder that during the decades of raising my four kids I also raised 5 dogs, 4 cats, two dozen goat kids, 3 baby calves, 3 lambs, a horse, a rabbit, a guinea pig, and a bearded dragon. Even now in the empty nest without children I still keep company with 2 dogs and 2 cats. Our most recent puppy, Grace, was the last to join the family just before my last child left home. (I continue to think about getting a couple of goats now and then.)

All animals have their own distinct emotional intelligence which is why their bonds to us are so strong and unconditional. It is easy to spot the glum expressions on my dogs faces as soon as they see me pull the rolling suitcase out of the garage. They know what that means, and I can see the grief in their eyes every time I leave. Animals love us in a way that few human relationships ever achieve, and not only because they are dependent on us for food, but because they connect to us beyond words, beyond time.

I have witnessed how animals enchant children. Although one of my son’s favorite tricks with his bunny Bon-Bon was hypnotizing her so she would lay flat on her back (he was the only one who could do it), I often wondered when I watched whether it wasn’t Bon-Bon hypnotizing him, coaxing stillness from him 20 minutes at a time. I even once clocked him sitting stock still for over an hour as the bearded dragon perched on his shoulder. I will never forget the 4-hour search-and-rescue mission for the bearded dragon left unattended on the porch and the fierce sense of relief we all shared when we finally found her under a bush in the wee light of dusk.

Our animals (and lizards) were family members and even the youngest of my children learned what love was by loving them. The dogs were a kind of baby sitter, always circling the action and sleeping at the doorway of the napping baby. Over the years they taught us in real time the meaning of life and death and of letting go of those you love.  The passing of a beloved dog or cat, or the tragedy of losing a barnyard of animals to a bad dose of vaccines, shines a light on just how brief (and how precious) our time here truly is.

Because of this appreciation, one of my first acts when I launched Good Clean Love was to enroll as a PETA cruelty-free company. It’s also why, when the time finally came to apply for FDA clearance, I was heart-sick to learn of the FDA animal testing requirements. So I turned to PETA to learn more about whether there were other testing models that the FDA would accept in place of animal tests. Over the last two years we have partnered with PETA, landing on their very short list of companies against animal testing and Working for Regulatory Change with a new leaping bunny symbol.

For me, our long term efforts to steer the FDA away from animal testing is partly personal. I have loved both bunnies and guinea pigs in my life, and know that they sense the world and us in real, tangible ways. But my objections are grounded even more so on the scientific progress that has been made in the development of human tissue models which more accurately and reliably predict toxic reactions to consumer intimacy products.

I am a big believer in testing requirements and government regulations to ensure the safety of consumer products, but it is time to reexamine the kinds of tests we require. In the case of personal lubricants, these new testing methods provide more scientifically valid results than comparative data from guinea pig and rabbit vaginas. It turns out there are no vaginas in the entire animal kingdom that resemble the biology of the human vagina. Ironically, it has been the FDA’s insistence in demanding this animal data as a bio-compatibility measure which has permitted so many products into the market place that are too toxic to be deemed safe.

Perhaps one of the greatest things we have achieved at Good Clean Love is our work in pursuing and sponsoring a human tissue model study which conclusively demonstrated the toxic response that hyperosmolar lubricants create in the vagina. Collaborating with PETA scientists has allowed us to create this precedent-setting victory as we became the first company ever to persuade the FDA to approve our patented Restore moisturizing gel without using rabbits and guinea pigs in irritation and allergic reaction tests. As a company whose mission is to expand the awareness and experience of love in the world, being honored by PETA as a Compassionate Business means the world to us.

I am honored to announce and invite you to the PETA award ceremony to be held at Good Clean Love world headquarters in Eugene, Oregon, on July 25th, 2017. Please come and celebrate our progress away from animal testing and toward healthier, animal cruelty free products.