PETA TAKES AGENDA TO SHAREHOLDERS

NORFOLK, Va. -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plans to keep pushing for the adoption of more humane animal slaughtering methods at company shareholder meetings, despite an overwhelming show of no support from the shareholders of Applebee's.At the casual dining chain's recent annual meeting, just 6% of the company's shareholders voted in favor of PETA's proposal encouraging more humane

NORFOLK, Va. -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plans to keep pushing for the adoption of more humane animal slaughtering methods at company shareholder meetings, despite an overwhelming show of no support from the shareholders of Applebee's.

At the casual dining chain's recent annual meeting, just 6% of the company's shareholders voted in favor of PETA's proposal encouraging more humane methods of slaughtering chickens. The plan would have required Applebee's to demand that its suppliers use "controlled atmosphere killing."

Under the CAK method, chickens are put to sleep with an inert gas prior to being scalded on packing plant assembly lines. Wendy's shareholders also rejected the proposal last month; Kroger will vote on a similar plan to be presented by PETA this summer.

"The utility of these proposals is that they open up a dialogue between us, executives and the company's shareholders," David Benjamin, special projects coordinator for PETA, the animal rights group based here, told SN.

"Six percent [support from Applebee's] doesn't sound astounding, but it allows us to present it again the following year, and what we've found historically is that once shareholders become aware of these issues, they'll begin to push management toward the standards that we're looking for," he said.

Benjamin argued that the CAK slaughter method is already used by several packing plants in Europe, and that it will improve end-product quality and reduce discards of damaged carcasses, ultimately saving adopters money.