Tuesday, April 18, 2006

FROZEN ETHICS

Tomorrow night, BBC ONE is dedicating a large tranche of airtime to the McCartney's battles against the fur trade, an hour of positive PR for Macca and Mrs. Mills, depicting him as the concerned, caring figure that he likes to project.

Unfortunately, a little bit of business being done by Heinz and Tivali might spoil his day somewhat. Heinz is the current owner of the Linda McCartney brand, and is talking about selling the first Mrs McCartney's name to Tivali. Trouble is, Tivali is owned by Osem, in turn majority-owned by Nestle.

Nestle has done a pretty good job of buying of people's consciences of late - it bought Anita Roddick's Body Shop. As a company, of course, it's most famous for attracting the ire of baby milk campaigners who attack Nestle for encouraging mothers in developing countries to feed their babies formula instead of breast milk; however, if McCartney has a moment or two between writing letters to stop the fur trade, he might want to consider Nestle beauty company L'Oreal's animal testing record: unlike, say, the Co-Op, L'Oreal refuses to adopt a fixed cut-off date for the ingredients it uses in its products, and instead invents "new" ingredients which then, under EU law, require testing on animals.

Oddly, L'Oreal attempt to argue that restricting itself to the many hudreds of potential ingredients that have already been proven safe to use "is not an effective or practical means to reduce and eliminate animal testing." It's not clear what they'd actually be testing on animals if there were no new products requiring tests, but I suppose at least we can be thanking them for not trying to tell us that the rats actually enjoy being blinded by beauty products, or that - in the wild - rabbits with naturally seek out chemicals to burn their own skin.

Thanks to Jim McCabe for the link - and we think it's worth sharing what he said:

at first sight this looks like just another business story involving two multinationals. However, one aspect of it which has apparently been overlooked in the reports is the effect it may have on the PR image of Sir Macca. As someone who has gone to great lengths to tell the world about his "ethical" campaigns (vegetarianism, landmines &, most recently, seal-culling in Canada), it seems strange that McCartney's people haven't gone into PR overdrive; the silence is deafening. We're witnessing a pattern here: the ethical unravelling of the Live8 luminaries. Bob 'n' Bono have trousered a few bob for gabbing away to wealthy audiences, & now this unseemly deal for old thumbs-up to explain, or not, as the case may be.

That's the oddest thing - even if his wife's name has been sold to the highest bidder and he's lost control of it, you'd expect McCartney to at least have an opinion.

But then again... how ethical was Linda's range to begin with? There was an incident a few years back when a customer opened one of her pies only to discover it was full of meat; it turned out at that point that Ross was making the Linda McCartney pies on the same production line as their meat ones - in other words, the arch-vegetarian's range was basically making the manufacture of cow pies a much more attractive, cost-effective business by allowing the machinery to be utilised producing premium products when otherwise it would have been sitting idle. Sunsidising the production of cheap meat products, in other words.

Linda McCartney's Ploughman's Pie is the only product we've ever eaten that was so awful we actually rang the customer helpline number on the packet to complain. We can understand the desire to produce a synthetic meat replacement - but why would anyone want to replicate the gristle as well?


3 comments:

Anonymous said...

does it makes you feel better to slag of the double standards of paul in stead why can't the press and others just see that animal testing is wrong so are seal hunts etc leave animals to enjoy life ... at least paul linda and heather and other celebs try to make a change in the world .....ok we are all hypocrites coz we live in a captalistic world but let people know what is right and what is wrong is it ok that the press try to ruin peoples hope and moral is it ok that the press who killed lady diana with its crazy retoric and unhealthy behaviour, it it ok that they should be able to print lies and rip people apart all day long and make people miserable ? print storys that help people not ones that make us sad and hopeless ...paul is trying his best to make people see the horrors of animal testing and is trying to do some good .ok so the buisness stuff is not good and we all have things about us that are not perfect coz this world is full of contradiction and dysfunction but put some one down for being mean not for trying to help ,support celebs when they help for they don't have to and the fact they do is great !

Anonymous said...

yes its like jesus people who do good things always get put up on a cross

simon h b said...

anonymous...

Diana Windsor died because she wasn't wearing a seatbelt. That wasn't the media.

And don't you think it's a little bit interesting that Paul will appear on television to parade his good works saving a handfull of seals while not making so much as a whimper as his wife's name and legacy is sold to a company which tests on animals?

And anon #2, it's a good joke to compare Macca with Jesus. Tell me you're joking...

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