Wacky Animal-Rights Tricks, Investor’s Edition

While they put most of their stock in shameless media stunts and protestors clad only in self-righteousness, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals keeps a little in the market, too. The $29 million animal-rights “charity” holds stock in at least 40 different companies for the sole purpose of trying to bully management through shareholder resolutions that promote PETA’s agenda.

For years now, PETA’s activists have offered shareholder resolutions and long-winded speeches at the annual meetings of any company in which it holds even a miniscule stake. Many of these resolutions call upon chicken vendors to switch to alternative slaughter methods that meet PETA’s definition of “humane.” (PETA attacks the fur industry — without a hint of irony — for using the same technique that it advocates for chickens.)

Unsurprisingly, PETA has been batting .000 with this approach. Late last month, the shareholders of Hormel voted in an overwhelming majority — more than 96 percent — to reject the proposal. Kroger, ConAgra, and Tyson Foods, among many others, have definitively shot down PETA’s disingenuous proposals as well. Resolutions against life-saving animal research filed with Abbott, Merck, Lilly, and Wyeth didn’t even receive the three percent necessary to re-introduce the motion the following year. Most investors understand that PETA’s resolutions are just the first step toward “total animal liberation,” in the words of PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.

We have just one question for PETA: Why don’t you urge companies to slaughter animals the same way you do? Our guess is that it’s because chicken injected with ketamine and pentobarbital doesn’t taste very good.

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