The Associated Press reports today (as though it were “news”) on an old tactic used by the animal rights extremists at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). In addition to sending half-nude performers to “shower” with an anti-meat message, PETA is trying a more fully clothed tactic: buying stock in meat and restaurant companies and introducing shareholder resolutions to drive their costs up.
By simply holding $2,000 worth of stock for one year, PETA earns the right to introduce whatever resolutions it wants at a company’s Annual General Meeting. The obvious appeal of this tactic has led to its spread: The so-called “Humane Society” of the United States has recently co-opted the same PETA strategy — as well as PETA's chief strategist. HSUS’s corporate outreach director, Matthew Prescott, used to be in charge of these campaigns for PETA until he moved to the animal-rights mother ship last year.
Prescott told The Boston Globe in 2008 how it all works: “When we come up with a shareholder resolution, the company has to print up our message and send it to every investor. So everybody reads what we've written — usually a statement about the graphic ways that the company is abusing animals.”
So how has shareholder democracy been treating confrontational animal rights groups? Poorly. Not a single shareholder resolution introduced by PETA or HSUS has ever come close to passing. Not one that we can find has even attracted more than six-percent support. HSUS’s resolution at last week’s McDonald’s shareholder meeting got a 4.4 percent “yes” vote, for one typical example.
The results speak for themselves. Shareholders of restaurants that serve meat, eggs, and milk don’t want to be told what to do by animal rights activists who really just want to veganize the whole menu. But we’re left to wonder what HSUS does with all its profits from these so-called “animal abusing” industries. Not that we’re about to stop buying cheeseburgers and chicken wings just to spite them.