Shareholder Campaign: Medtronic
Medtronic is one of the top manufacturers of medical devices in the world, marketing a range of products that includes cardiac pacemakers, defibrillators, catheters, stents, and surgical tools. Government regulations require a certain amount of animal testing for medical products, but companies are afforded some flexibility in choosing which tests they will use to establish the safety and effectiveness of new products.
2005 Resolution: Give the Animals 5
With the help of PETA supporters who held stock in Medtronic, a resolution was filed in the spring of 2005, 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.
Based on subsequent discussions between Medtronic executives and PETA’s science advisers, PETA voluntarily withdrew its shareholder resolution.
2008 Resolution: Exporting Animal Experiments
When those meetings did not produce tangible results for animals, PETA filed another resolution with Medtronic calling on the company to enact a policy against outsourcing its product testing on animals to countries like China that have lax animal welfare laws. Based on subsequent discussions between Medtronic executives and PETA’s science advisers, PETA again withdrew its shareholder resolution.
2010 Resolution: Use of Live Animals for Sales and Training
In 2010, discussions with Medtronic again foundered, and PETA filed a resolution asking the board to issue a report to shareholders on the feasibility of phasing out the company’s use of live animals for sales and other training exercises. The resolution was the result of PETA’s findings that Medtronic sales representatives were cutting open and implanting medical devices in live animals and that the company was hosting courses in which live animals had their chests and arteries cut open by physician assistants. Medtronic conducted these tests even though their major competitor prohibited the use of animals for sales training, more than 95 percent of medical schools in the U.S. and Canada do not use animals in their curricula, and superior non-animal alternatives were available. Medtronic opposed the resolution, stating they had already substantially implemented the proposal. Based on subsequent discussions between Medtronic executives and PETA’s science advisers, PETA voluntarily withdrew its shareholder resolution, and a productive dialogue has resulted.