Abbott Laboratories is one of the largest medical research companies in the world, producing a broad range of diagnostic and pharmaceutical products.
2005 Resolution: ‘Give the Animals 5’
With the help of PETA supporters who held stock in Abbott Laboratories, a resolution was filed in the fall of 2004 calling on the company to “Give the Animals 5” (GTA5)—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 Abbott’s approach was to reduce and replace animal use whenever possible, the company opposed our shareholder resolution. PETA’s resolution was brought to a vote at Abbott’s annual meeting, and approximately 26 million shares (2.5 percent) were cast in favor of the resolution.
2006 Resolution: Animal Welfare Policy
In 2006, PETA filed a resolution with Abbott calling on the company to extend its animal welfare policy to include social and behavioral enrichment measures for the animals used in-house and at contract testing 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 have included “just about every major company around the world.”
Abbott challenged PETA’s resolution, arguing that it was similar to PETA’s GTA5 resolution from 2005. PETA responded that the GTA5 resolution related to five specific non-animal testing methods that could be put into place immediately to reduce animal use, while the current resolution had to do with providing animals with decent housing and socialization. Inexplicably, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruled that the two resolutions were substantially similar, and PETA’s animal welfare policy resolution did not appear in Abbott’s proxy materials that year.
2011 Resolution: Transparency in Animal Use
In the fall of 2010, PETA filed a resolution through a donor requesting that Abbott issue an annual report disclosing the number and species used in-house and at contract laboratories as well as Abbott’s plan to reduce and phase out animal testing. The SEC ruled that a resolution submitted by another animal protection group was substantially similar, prompting PETA to withdraw its resolution.
2012 Resolution: Transparency in Animal Use
Expanding upon PETA’s 2011 resolution calling for Abbott to exhibit greater transparency in its use of animals in experiments, PETA’s 2012 resolution requested that the board issue an annual report to shareholders disclosing procedures that the company takes to ensure proper animal care in-house and at contract laboratories, specifics on how Abbott uses animals, and its plans to promote alternatives to animal use. While the company opposed our resolution, stating that it already disclosed its animal welfare policies and procedures, PETA’s resolution was brought to a vote at Abbott’s annual meeting and garnered almost 59 million shares (6.2 percent), allowing PETA to re-file in 2013.