Lintbells – Producing ethical supplements for the ethical practice

From the very beginning, back in 2006, we’ve been determined to be an ethical company. We’re proud of our ethical record – it’s important to us that we don’t do the profitable thing, but the right thing, wherever we can. And there are three key areas we feel set us apart as a company…


1 – Animal testing – by nature of our business, we do not have to do this!


We are a supplement company, not a pharmaceutical one. For us to get a pharmaceutical license, we would need to provide large scale Phase I and II clinical trials, including toxicity studies.


What does that mean?

That still means laboratory based animal testing, to detemine the TD50 and LD50 of the product – essentially, trying to find a way of turning a safe product into a toxic one, to prove that the original was safe. If you go to the VMD and ask for a marketing authorisation, or license, they’re going to ask two things: is it safe, and is it effective. As soon as you say “yes”, they will ask for the evidence of animal trials. We are fortunate enough that, by nature of our business, we do not have to produce TD50 and LD50 trials, though we do prove our products work in clinical trials.


We often get asked why we can’t give out the results of our clinical trials.

The answer is, because as soon as we do, it makes YuMOVE, YuDERM, YuCALM or YuDIGEST a medicine (strictly, medicinal by function), and to be able to sell it, we’d have to obtain a Marketing Authorisation, involving laboratory animal testing. It’s just now where we want to be.


So how do you know it’s safe?

Before using any ingredient, our scientific team verifies that the ingredient already has enough safety data to qualify as a safe inclusion in our products. All of our ingredients are already EU and UK approved animal feed additives or materials. That means we don’t have to conduct additional safety studies – we’re using active ingredients already demonstrated to be low risk in the target species at the recommended doses.


2 – Demonstrable efficacy


The other side of the coin, of course, is that we only want to produce and supply effective products. We think it would be fundamentally unethical to market any supplement that doesn’t have a scientific rationale and evidence for efficacy – even if the current regulations prohibit us from sharing the data.


How do we provide proof?

We will feed the product, at the advised label doses, to client-owned pets to assess for the desired product function. The owners are doing exactly what they normally would – feeding the supplement. We haven’t induced arthritis in a lab animal, for example – we’re just following up with a much loved pet to make sure that what happens is what we expect.


Good trial design

We believe that a well designed clinical field trial gives us insight into real-world situations; and do so, we need to be using best practice, including placebo, cross-over, double blinding, and randomisation. To illustrate what we mean by this, we ran a randomised double-blind placebo controlled cross-over trial in senior dogs at the Royal Veterinary College for our YuMOVE joint supplement for dogs. The results enabled us to state that YuMOVE was clinically proven in just 6 weeks, and we were satisfied the product was both safe and a benefit to the animal.


3 – Supplier approvals


All our suppliers are required to meet and adhere to our code of ethics. That means we don’t appoint or accept them unless they abide by our basic principles of minimising environmental harms and maximising animal welfare wherever appropriate. Our stringent supplier approval processes are key to our reputation. We audit every single supplier to ensure they meet our high standards and conduct their business in an ethical manner.