by Brendan O'Neill on 11/7/03 for Meatingplace.com
Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is set to acquire stock in Outback Steakhouse and casual dining chain Applebee's, according to a report from CNN.
PETA currently owns shares of casual dining chain Denny's and Chili's parent Brinker International, as well as stock in Austin, Minn.-based Hormel Foods, Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods, and Pittsburg, Texas-based Pilgrim's Pride.
Calling it a "reinvigorated strategy," PETA said for the first time it is vigorously purchasing stock in the leading meat suppliers.
"We're taking on Wall Street," said PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich. "We're buying 50 percent over the minimum number of shares required to submit a shareholder resolution."
Tom Agan, managing partner with Prophet, a San Francisco-based brand and marketing consultancy, noted the concern about PETA's strategy. "There's a real concern in the foodservice industry over PETA, especially since it has gained traction in the marketplace following the recent settlement with Whole Foods Market," he said.
Whole Foods Market announced last month that it would become the first major grocery chain to adopt humane animal treatment standards. PETA said it campaigned against Whole Foods for two years requesting that it reevaluate its animal treatment standards.
"That development really changes the situation a lot," Agan said. "Even though shareholder resolutions generally don't always work, they do attract a lot of attention and publicity. It's the bad publicity these companies don't want."