February 9, 2017
Historic Shareholder Vote on Antibiotics Challenges Sanderson Farms
Oakland, CALIF – As You Sow’s shareholder proposal with Sanderson Farms, the third-largest U.S. poultry producer, was supported today by 30% of shares – the highest vote ever for an antibiotics-related proposal. The proposal requests that the company phase out the use of medically important antibiotics for growth promotion and disease prevention.
“This is an unprecedented vote, and it sends a clear message to the meat and restaurant industries,” said Austin Wilson, Environmental Health Manager at As You Sow. “We must invest in more sustainable solutions. Other companies are doing it – why isn’t Sanderson?”
Sanderson is the only large U.S. chicken producer that has not made a commitment to limit its use of those drugs, as public health experts across the globe raise the alarm about the link between farm use of antibiotics and the rise of human infections from drug-resistant bacteria, also known as "superbugs." Sanderson leaders have publicly denied the science of antibiotic resistance.
Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), a major proxy advisory firm, recommended that investors support the proposal, stating that Sanderson is lagging its peers and faces reputational and regulatory risks as a result. Investors worth more than $2.2 trillion support limiting the use of medically important antibiotics in meat production, according to the organization Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return.
Brands that have committed to prohibit all medically important use of antibiotics in U.S. chicken include number one U.S. poultry producer Tyson Foods, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Starbucks, and Jack in the Box. Another Sanderson Farms competitor, Perdue Foods, raises 95% of its chickens without any use of antibiotics.