Is PETA hypocritical? One tactic we use to save animals is buying stock in companies with cruel practices. So does it make us hypocrites if we hold a stake in the success of companies such as SeaWorld, H&M, and Starbucks?
No, it definitely doesn’t, and here’s why: We’re not in it for the profits, if any—we buy the smallest amount of stock required, and we tend to do so at times when its value is tanking, all for a good reason. We believe these companies would be far more successful if they stopped exploiting animals. Becoming stockholders entitles us to bring proposals, or resolutions, to a vote as part of a company’s annual meeting process. That way, we can share information on animal issues and effect change from within—plus, companies are far more likely to listen to and be influenced by their shareholders.
What Changes Has PETA Achieved as a SeaWorld Stockholder?
PETA has owned stock in SeaWorld since 2013, and we’ve been urging the company to ban breeding and retire the orcas it holds captive to seaside sanctuaries ever since. The pressure we’ve been able to put on the company from within has helped us earn life-changing victories for animals. Our shareholder proposal for SeaWorld to end its orca-breeding program was among the many efforts that led the company to do just that, which means that the current generation of orcas will be the last to suffer in the marine park’s cramped tanks. Another proposal ended cruel “dolphin surfing,” in which trainers would ride on dolphins’ backs and stand on their faces in SeaWorld’s shows.
ICYMI: In response to PETA’s shareholder proposal, #SeaWorld announced it will STOP using dolphins as surfboards!
Dolphins will no longer be forced to use their faces and backs to hold the weight of trainers for circus-style shows. https://t.co/3ayAMixjVN
— PETA (@peta) February 10, 2020
We’ve even suggested a bailout plan for the company that would save animals and its reputation. Our shareholder resolution urged SeaWorld to shift to a non-animal model, with rides, virtual reality exhibits, and other educational experiences that would allow visitors to learn more about marine life without paying to see imprisoned animals.
The True Hypocrites Are the Cruel Companies That Refuse to Change
Our shareholder resolutions have allowed PETA to call out the hypocrisy of many companies that continue to use animals to make a profit. Fashion brand H&M claims to care about animal welfare, yet it continues to sell clothing stuffed with down feathers, which are taken from birds whose throats are stabbed before their feathers are removed. Coffee chain Starbucks continues to charge more for vegan milks, even though it has admitted that bovine mammary secretions (aka “cow’s milk”) are a major contributor to the company’s carbon footprint—and of course, they cause calves to be removed from their loving mothers. These companies and others continue to harm animals when they could choose to do otherwise.
In 1987, PETA’s first shareholder resolutions targeted cosmetics and household-product manufacturers that conducted animal tests. Since then, with the support of our members, we’ve submitted shareholder resolutions covering many other issues with dozens of companies, from fashion brands that use animal skins to gaming companies that own racetracks. You can help us continue this vital work for animals by taking action today: