Shareholder Campaign: Schering-Plough
Schering-Plough marketed a wide range of prescription pharmaceuticals, over-the-counter consumer health-care products, and animal health-care products. Schering-Plough merged with Merck in 2009.
2005 Resolution: ‘Give the Animals 5’
With the help of PETA supporters who held stock in Schering-Plough, 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 its progressively worded “Animal Care and Use Policy,” Schering-Plough opposed our resolution and sought permission from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to exclude our resolution from its proxy statement, arguing that it dealt with ordinary business matters that are not subject to a vote by stockholders. The SEC staff did not concur with any of the company’s arguments and ordered Schering-Plough to publish the PETA-sponsored resolution in its shareholder proxy materials.
Subsequent discussions between Schering-Plough executives and PETA’s scientists led to a commitment by the company to “conduct an interactive dialogue with [PETA] over the next 12 months in a good-faith manner intended to cover the items raised [by PETA].”
In light of Schering-Plough’s willingness to engage in a constructive and ongoing dialogue about these issues, PETA voluntarily withdrew its shareholder resolution. These discussions continued until Schering-Plough merged with Merck. Merck subsequently refused to meet with PETA.