The Coca-Cola Co. has joined PepsiCo in stepping away from conducting experiments on animals, according to reports.

The New York Times said today (31 May) that the two soft drinks giants have this month agreed to stop directly financing research that uses animals to test or develop their products, except where such testing is required by law.

While PepsiCo made the move earlier this month, the newspaper noted that Coca-Cola followed suit yesterday.

PepsiCo said that, although it had never supported the idea of animal testing, the company had not previously been policing it.

In a letter to animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Coca-Cola said it does not conduct animal tests nor directly fund animal tests on its beverages. The company also said it will ask its partners and research organisations to use alternatives to animal testing.

The two soft drink giants are the latest companies to respond to pressure from PETA, the paper added. The group has mounted a campaign to denounce animal testing practices in the beverage industry, an industry which had largely been unpublicised in the animal testing arena.