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Crashing an Annual Meeting

Each week, PETA’s campaigners publish a new post about their lives traveling the country fighting for animals. This week’s post was written by Katie Arth.

20 June 2013

When I hear the term “shareholder meeting,” I always think of men in suits talking about ways that they can increase their profits. Thanks to PETA, I now think of these annual meetings as an opportunity to speak up for animals!

When Johnson & Johnson gathered at its international headquarters in New Jersey, PETA volunteers were out in full force calling on the company to do better for animals. You may already know that Johnson & Johnson does horrible things to animals (please always buy only cruelty-free products!), but many people, including the company’s shareholders, don’t know that certain divisions use human simulators to train sales staff on medical devices while others cut up and kill healthy pigs. This means that if staff members are showing the sales team a new gastric band, for example, they would cut open a pig to expose the stomach and then tie the band to narrow part of the digestive system, even though they could do the same thing with a simulator or cadaver, saving a pig from being killed during a sales training session.

PETA was in the meeting—as well as outside it—to make sure that the shareholders knew how easy it would be to save pigs by switching to human simulators. Volunteers—some wearing pig costumes with bandages and leaning on crutches—held signs outside the entrance to the meeting and handed out leaflets about the benefits of using modern technology instead of animals. They received many honks from passing cars and many positive comments from people entering the building.

Inside the meeting, a PETA representative asked the company to follow its own animal welfare guidelines and stop cutting up healthy animals when alternatives exist. While Johnson & Johnson officials responded only that they’d look into it, many shareholders approached the PETA representative after the meeting to thank her for speaking up and expressed their support for replacing pigs with simulators for sales training!

While Johnson & Johnson hasn’t stopped using pigs yet, every annual meeting, cruelty-free product, and changed mind brings us closer to getting animals out of laboratories!

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