LOS ANGELES, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- POM Wonderful, the nation's leading producer of pomegranate juice, announced today that it appears to be the target of a cruel hoax by the Animal Rights Militia, which has boasted to the media and on the internet that it intentionally contaminated bottles of POM Wonderful juices in several retail chains on the East Coast of the United States.

So far, POM has found no evidence of any contamination of its products, and has not received any reports of complaints from customers or retailers. POM is cooperating with law enforcement agencies and is investigating by going into stores and checking its products.
"POM Wonderful is outraged by the boasts of the Animal Rights Militia," said a spokesman for the company. "If it is a hoax, it is a form of blackmail. If actual contamination has taken place, with the intention of injuring innocent people, it is an act of terrorism. Either way, the Animal Rights Militia is trying to scare and intimidate innocent people. That is criminal behavior."

POM also asks members of the news media to show extra caution in publicizing these claims. "We would ask that you be extra careful not to inadvertently be party to a hoax, nor to imply that the media in any way endorses terrorist tactics made in the name of animal rights," the spokesman said.

POM Wonderful said that in recent months, animal rights activists have pressured POM to sign a statement renouncing all animal research. POM refused. "Our research is helping to save human lives," the spokesman said.
The vast majority of POM research involves human studies, which has led to breakthrough results on prostate cancer and heart disease, among other findings. As a result of that research, people facing those diseases now have greater hope. Only a small fraction of POM's research involves testing on animals, though it never includes dogs, cats or primates. When animals are involved, testing follows well-established scientific protocol and every effort is made to insure that no harsh or cruel methods are performed. These animal studies help pave the way for eventual human research.

Recently, a handful of animal rights activist have resorted to terror tactics in a crude attempt to disrupt POM's medical research. Masked protesters have stalked POM employees at their homes, screaming profanities and threats of violence and terrorizing their young children. The harassment became so dangerous that a California State Court issued a preliminary injunction barring these protesters from further terrorizing POM employees. Despite this injunction, radical groups have continued to harass employees and their children, at their homes in the middle of the night.

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