PETA to Petco: Stop selling animals
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals brings shareholder proposal to chain's annual meeting.
June 4, 2004: 7:35 AM EDT
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Animal rights protestors staked out Petco Animal Supplies Inc.'s annual meeting in San Diego on Thursday to pressure the No. 2 U.S. pet supply chain to stop selling animals in its stores.
The shareholder proposal, brought by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, had asked Petco to study ending animal sales in its 670 stores.
The proposal won approval from less than 2 percent of shareholders, but PETA spokeswoman Christy Griffin said the organization planned "to keep bringing up this issue over and over until they get animals out of their stores."
Petco spokesman Shawn Underwood said "shareholders spoke clearly" with their sound defeat of the proposal.
"From our perspective, 62 percent of households have pets, so 62 percent think it's OK to have pets in the house," Underwood said. "We have a philosophical difference of opinion with them that I don't think we'll ever be able to bridge just because of the fact that they think pet ownership is slavery."
The proposal comes one week after Petco announced it had settled two lawsuits accusing the chain of failing to properly care for animals in its stores.
The consumer protection lawsuits, brought by prosecutors across California, came after state inspectors documented widespread animal care violations at Petco stores during a four-year period.
Petco sells small animals such as birds and rodents, but it works with about 2,000 animal welfare groups to offer customers dogs and cats, Underwood said.
About eight PETA protestors outside the San Diego-based company's annual meeting carried signs that read: "Petco starves baby animals," "Petco throws sick animals in freezers" and "Petco: Where animals die."
As part of its nearly $1 million settlement for the overpricing and animal neglect claims, Petco was required by court order to implement a detailed daily animal care program in all its stores. The chain did not admit wrongdoing in the settlement.
Petco (PETC: Research, Estimates) operates in 43 states and reported first-quarter earnings of $15.8 million.