If you are approached by animal activists about your supply chain, don’t engage them. These activists send out blasts to many different companies trying to find one who will meet with them. While they may seem reasonable–merely asking for “dialogue”–taking a meeting will only turn into a shakedown. The animal activists demand that companies make a pledge to buy high-cost animal products, or else be (falsely) accused of supporting animal cruelty.
Animal activists are trying to take companies hostage.
They threaten restaurants and grocers by telling them to change their animal protein supply chains, or else face harassment and accusations of support for animal cruelty. This website provides information on why you should not give in to these bullies.
What should I do?
What Should I Expect If I Say No?
You may receive some unwanted phone calls, emails, or comments on social media. However, many of the people heckling you are staff members or volunteers of animal activist groups. There are not part of a grassroots movement of consumers.
Do They Represent the Public?
No. These harassment campaigns are funded by a handful of wealthy special-interest foundations. In contrast to the activists’ agenda of total veganism, the vast majority of the public–around 98-99%–enjoys eating meat, dairy, and eggs.
Can They Hurt Brands?
There is no evidence that activist attacks have ever affected sales. Starting in April 2018, activists launched a major media campaign against McDonald’s over its chicken supply. McDonald’s stock price has been on an upward trajectory since then.
What's Wrong With Giving In?
It may seem tempting to make a pledge to get the animal activists to stop bothering you. But it’s counterproductive. You’re only encouraging them to come back with more demands, since they know you’ve caved once. That’s the same reason the government doesn’t negotiate with terrorists — it only encourages more terrorism.
Moreover, the activists act in bad faith. They will not endorse any products you offer, even if you meet their demands. They may even attack you anyway for not implementing a pledge quickly enough, as they did to Costco.
What is "Global Animal Partnership"?
Animal activists are trying to herd restaurants into pledging to buy only chicken that is certified by Global Animal Partnership (GAP) — no other poultry allowed. GAP is a small certification program that restricts farmers from using common animal husbandry practices. GAP-certified meat is significantly higher in price, and has hidden environmental costs. Worse, animal activists sit on the board of GAP and can constantly alter the GAP guidelines to continually increase prices. GAP is a trap.
Who are the activists?
The Humane League
The Humane League is one of the leading groups harassing restaurants and grocers. Its goal is total veganism. A founder of the group was convicted of making terroristic threats for threatening to kill someone’s children.
Mercy for Animals
Mercy for Animals is a vegan organization that does not believe consumers should be allowed to enjoy meat, dairy, and eggs.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is against all meat, dairy, and eggs. It’s also against wearing leather, visiting zoos, and owning pets.
Humane Society of the United States
The Humane Society of the United States—not to be confused with your local pet shelter—has the same goals as PETA. While this group may appear moderate, HSUS’s corporate outreach director is so extreme that he has compared modern farms to Nazi concentration camps.
Open Philanthropy Project
This organization has directed $64 million to animal activist groups since 2016, much of it for corporate harassment campaigns–demonstrating how these campaigns are anything but grassroots.
Direct Action Everywhere
This organization protests inside of restaurants and grocery stores—even establishments such as Whole Foods and Chipotle. Along with harassing shoppers and diners for enjoying meat, its followers are willing to steal livestock from farms.
A Guide to the Issues
Vegan activists claim that individual maternity pens (also called gestation stalls) are inhumane. These pens are used to safely house sows during pregnancy and are approved of by veterinarians. Banning their use will decrease animal welfare: When housed in groups, pregnant pigs fight for food and dominance, leading to nasty injuries. Read more and see videos at MaternityPens.com.
Animal activists want restaurants to purchase chicken certified by a small program called Global Animal Partnership, which bans farmers from using common animal husbandry practices. Not only is such poultry low in supply and much higher cost, but GAP certification has hidden environmental costs.
Research from Elanco Animal Health estimated that if just one-third of poultry farmers switched to GAP’s restrictive standards, the environmental costs would be enormous. Farmers would have to raise 1.5 billion more chickens per year to meet consumer demand. To feed those animals, you’d need land the size of Maryland to grow crops—and then a way to deal with all of the extra manure. Read more why on Global Animal Partnership is an irresponsible commitment to make.
Environmental activists demand that food companies source meat from farms that restrict the use of antibiotics. This is inhumane and goes against basic medical ethics.
Veterinarians sometimes administer antibiotics as preventive medicine—if one animal gets sick, a vet doesn’t want to wait for the whole herd to get sick. Yet activists want to ban this practice, claiming use of antibiotics on farms causes antibiotic resistance in human medicine. (The CDC points to misuse of antibiotics in human medicine.)
If antibiotics are restricted, then more animals will get sick and die.
It’s important to note the FDA has strict regulations on antibiotic use. Veterinarians must approve of their use, and they can’t be used frivolously. Moreover, an animal that is given medicine has to go through a waiting period before it enters the food supply, to ensure that all meat is free of any residue.
Animal activists pressured a number of companies to pledge to transition to “cage-free” eggs by 2025. However, an Iowa State professor determined that there may not be a supply of cage-free eggs by this date. Only 10 percent of the supply is currently cage-free.
Cage-free systems also have a number of drawbacks, such as a higher mortality rate for the animals and more airborne bacteria.
Further, a 2017 report by CNBC found that cage-free egg farmers were struggling due to low consumer demand for their higher-cost eggs.
Companies made “cage-free” pledges after being badgered by activists—yet consumers don’t want these products, and now companies that made these pledges are facing uncertainty.
Get in touch
Questions? Concerns? Want to share a story of your interactions with animal rights bullies? Fill out this form to get in touch with us.