From napalm to pet shampoo: How the Pet Sustainability Coalition (PSC) is helping give Dow a new name.
The PSC is in the business of selling the illusion of sustainability in the pet industry, and they help companies like Dow – cultivate that image. For companies willing to pay for it, the PSC will certify that pet food, treats, and virtually any pet-related products are sustainable. But hidden behind vague and non-specific language, it’s unclear what – if any – measures are taken to determine a company’s sustainability. One of the businesses the PSC is helping? Dow Chemical.
“We are committed to human rights, labor practices, environmental management systems, and good governance.” (Pet Sustainability Coalition)
Dow, one of the world’s largest and most corrupt chemical producers, is working to offset their atrocious reputation with PSC’s help by building a sustainable future with “sustainable solutions!” When asked about the PSC’s relationship with Dow, they said they’re helping Dow on their “sustainability journey.”
The PSC hosted a paid ‘Sustainability Packaging Webinar Series’ this week to help Dow on their sustainable path into the pet industry. Dow kicked the series off by talking to pet food companies about their sustainable packaging materials for pet food and “how to ensure your packaging is recyclable without sacrificing quality.”
Dow doesn’t just make sustainable packaging solutions; they have an agriculture, feed, and animal care division and a Pet Care Solutions division, which includes pet grooming products like Cheerfulness Shampoo and Conditioner, FoamInAHug, Dreams Live On after-bath conditioner for pets that give “pleasant textures, delicate cleansing, and improved combing for a smooth and shining coat. Let’s give the best care for our loyal friends!“
“Delivering a sustainable future for the world through our materials science expertise.” (Dow)
Yet, behind Dow’s facade of sustainable packaging solutions and puppy dog smiles lies a legacy of one of American history’s most violent and brutal chapters: The Vietnam War. And Dow’s involvement? During the war, they were the sole supplier of napalm and Agent Orange for the American armed forces.
Napalm: The military referred to it as liquid fire. Napalm was one of history’s deadliest weapons – with temperatures of more than 2,190 degrees Fahrenheit – it adhered to the skin, melted off the flesh, and burned down to the bone. Witnesses to napalm’s impact described “eyelids so burned they could not be shut and flesh that looked like swollen, raw meat.” In the decade from 1963 to 1973, 388,000 tons of napalm were dropped on Vietnam.
“Dow accepted the contract [napalm] because we feel that simple good citizenship requires that we supply our government and our military with goods they need when we have the technology and the capability and have been chosen by the government as a supplier.” (Dow)
Agent Orange, also made by Dow, was used as a tactical herbicide by the U.S. military to clear large jungle areas during the Vietnam War, to expose the enemy and deprive them of food and shelter. From 1962 to 1971, the U.S. Air Force sprayed nearly 19.5 million gallons of Agent Orange, even though Dow knew it posed health risks, calling it “exceptionally toxic” to soldiers and others exposed.
In a memo, Dow called a contaminant in Agent Orange “one of the most toxic materials known, causing not only skin lesions but also liver damage.” Yet, the company said it had “no knowledge of any health hazards” associated with Agent Orange despite its use being linked to cancer and other illnesses among Vietnam veterans.
Today, on Dow’s website, the company disavows any responsibility for the devastation that Agent Orange caused.
“The U.S. courts have consistently ruled that Dow and the other manufacturers bear no responsibility for the development and use of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War and have dismissed all legal claims to the contrary.” (Dow)
THE CHILDREN OF VIETNAM
Images of the casualties caused by napalm – of mutilated Vietnamese children – became a symbol of the brutality of the Vietnam War, prompting Martin Luther King Jr. to go public with his opposition to the war. In his speech, he compared napalm to tactics used by the Nazis during World War II, calling the Vietnam War “a blasphemy against all that America stands for.”
In addition to making napalm and Agent Orange, Dow manufactures other chemicals, many of which are tested on animals. In 2019, an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) found dozens of beagles being poisoned at an animal testing facility to test a fungicide made and paid for by Dow AgroSciences.
The HSUS investigator documented the dogs cowering, frightened, in their cages with surgical scars and implanted with large devices. The testing involved cutting open their chests, “and two chemical substances were poured into it,” and force-feeding the dogs – up to four times a day – with various doses of a fungicide each day for an entire year. If the dogs do not die from the testing, they are euthanized before the study is complete. In response to the HSUS report, Dow said they could not stop the testing when “it is required by regulatory authorities.“
A CARING MEMBER OF VIETNAM
Although Dow claims to be “A Caring Member of the Vietnamese Community,” the company has never admitted or expressed regret for the mass destruction of napalm and Agent Orange on the Vietnamese culture, their people, their children, and their land. Nor has Dow ever acknowledged the atrocities their chemical weapons caused to the men and women who served in our country’s military.
DOW SHALT NOT KILL
As stewards of our future, we need to ensure that Dow’s products do not play any part in our pet’s lives, and indeed ours. I urge every company with an association with the PSC to divest themselves of the company for their relationship with Dow Chemical. Until such actions are taken, it can be assumed that every company – brand and supplier – associated with PSC is complicit in Dow’s criminal legacy and crimes against humanity.
In remembrance of the U.S. veterans and the Vietnamese people, it is an act of justice to protect our planet from Dow.
“We help our customers achieve their goals and create a better tomorrow.” (Dow)
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Featured photo image credit: “The Terror of War,” a photograph showing Phan Thi Kim Phuc running down a road near Trảng Bàng, Vietnam, after a napalm bomb was dropped on the village of Trảng Bàng by a plane of the Vietnam Air Force. Associated Press photographer Nick Ut. Trang Bang, South Vietnam, June 8, 1972
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