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Shareholder Campaign: Bristol-Myers Squibb

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) markets a wide range of prescription pharmaceuticals, infant formulas, children’s nutritional products, medical-imaging machinery, specialized wound dressings, and other medical supplies.

2005 Resolution: ‘Give the Animals 5′

With the help of PETA supporters who held stock in BMS, a resolution was filed in the fall of 2004 calling on the company to “Give the Animals 5“—replace five crude and cruel animal tests with state-of-the-art and scientifically valid non-animal methods that were already in use in other countries.

Despite assurances that BMS was “committed to reducing reliance on animal-testing methods” and was promoting the “development, validation, and use of non-animal tests,” the company opposed our resolution. PETA’s resolution was brought to a vote and received more than 37 million shares (3 percent).

2006 Resolution: Animal Welfare Policy

In 2006, PETA filed a resolution with BMS calling on the company to extend its animal welfare policy to include social and behavioral enrichment measures for the animals used both in-house and at contract laboratories.

The resolution was largely the result of the horrors uncovered in the independent contract testing laboratory Covance Inc., whose officials boasted that their clients included “just about every major company around the world.” 

BMS challenged our resolution, partly on the grounds that since animals cannot communicate their needs, the company was not responsible for addressing them. However, the Securities and Exchange Commission ruled in PETA’s favor and ordered BMS to publish the PETA-sponsored resolution in its shareholder proxy materials. BMS published our resolution along with its opposition statement advising shareholders to vote against it.

The company subsequently agreed to a discussion with PETA. However, a settlement that included ongoing meetings with PETA was not reached before the company’s annual meeting.

Our resolution garnered almost 60 million shares and more than 5 percent of the vote.

2007 Resolution: Animal Welfare Policy

PETA filed a resolution with BMS for its 2007 annual meeting calling on the company to extend its animal welfare policy to include social and behavioral enrichment measures for the animals used both in-house and at contract testing laboratories.

PETA ultimately withdrew the resolution in light of BMS’s challenge that the resolution dealt with substantially the same subject matter as PETA’s 2005 and 2006 resolutions, which did not receive the necessary support for resubmission.

2010 Resolution: Transparency in Animal Use

To promote transparency and minimize the use of animals in research and product testing, PETA filed a resolution in 2010 calling on BMS to include in their sustainability report the species, numbers, and general purpose of the animals used in research and the company’s efforts to reduce and replace animal use. While BMS opposed our resolution, PETA’s resolution was brought to a vote at BMS’ annual meeting and garnered more than 60 million shares (approximately 6.6 percent).

2012: Transparency in Animal Use

PETA filed another similar resolution in 2012 that garnered more than 50 million shares (approximately 5.6 percent).

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