Over the years, many members have given stock to PETA as a donation or because of specific cruelty-to-animals issues. On occasion, PETA has also purchased shares in companies where the inhumane treatment of animals has been brought to our attention. As partial owners of a publicly traded company, shareholders are entitled to bring proposals, or resolutions, to a vote as part of a company's annual meeting process.
Shareholder Resolutions and Animal Testing
Animal testing conducted by companies may be expressly required by government regulations or may be a voluntary activity on the company's part. For example, government regulations require a certain amount of animal testing for pharmaceutical and medical-device companies, but these companies are often afforded flexibility in choosing the tests that they use to establish the safety and effectiveness of new products.
PETA's first shareholder resolutions in 1987 targeted cosmetics and household-product manufacturers that conducted animal tests. In 2006, PETA's Give the Animals 5 resolutions called upon companies to replace five commonly used animal tests with validated, internationally approved non-animal methods. With the support of our members, PETA has since filed shareholder resolutions covering many animal testing issues with dozens of companies, including the following chemical and pharmaceutical giants:
3MAbbott LaboratoriesAltriaAmgenBarr LabsBaxter InternationalBristol-Myers SquibbChevron-TexacoDow ChemicalDuPontEli Lilly
ExxonMobilGeneral ElectricJohnson & Johnson MedtronicMerck & Co.MonsantoPfizerPPG IndustriesSchering PloughWyeth
A number of companies seek the government's permission to exclude PETA's resolutions from their annual meeting materials. In certain instances, the Securities and Exchange Commission—the agency responsible for administering federal securities laws in the U.S.—ruled against these companies in PETA's favor, allowing our resolutions to be submitted and voted upon. PETA's resolutions often receive high enough percentages of the shareholder vote to enable us to re-file the following year.
More importantly, the resolutions frequently open the door to discussions with companies' upper management and top scientists. In return for withdrawing resolutions, a number of companies such as Dow, DuPont, 3M, and other chemical, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies have agreed to enter into regular, constructive dialogues with PETA scientists.
Some successes that have resulted from these discussions include companies:
Shareholder resolutions represent a powerful and credible tactic to educate company management, boards, and investors about important issues, leading to change over the long term.
PETA continues to regularly file resolutions, attend meetings, and engage in ongoing negotiations in order to ensure that companies are working toward eliminating animal testing, and, in the meantime, demonstrating greater transparency and accountability for the number and care of animals they currently use. Read more about PETA's ongoing shareholder resolution campaign.
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.