I read this story with some amusement (here is the version from HSUS). According to the article, the CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (perhaps the largest animal advocacy organization in the US), Wayne Pacelle has bought shares in and is seeking a seat on the board of directors of Tyson Foods. Tyson Foods, by the way, is the largest producer of chicken and the second largest producer of beef and pork in the US.
My initial reaction was that a vegetarian on the board of a major meat packer just seems wrong. Yet, upon further reflection, I have to give it to Pacelle. I'm having a hard time finding anything wrong with his move from the perspective of liberty and freedom of choice.
I like to eat a good steak. But, I'm not entitled to it. If, hypothetically, Tyson decided its money would be better invested in another venture and decided to shut down its beef, pork, and poultry operations, how can I blame them? I'd be sad, but Tyson doesn't owe me hamburgers.
To garner sufficient influence in the election of Tyson's business, Pacelle and colleagues had to fork over major dough. And, he'll have to convince other shareholders to give their support. If Pacelle gets on the board and advocates for decisions that ruin Tyson's profitability, Pacelle looses financially as do other shareholders who support him. That's the price he and others are willing to pay to change animal living conditions.
Again, I'd be sad to pay higher beef prices or perhaps even sad if there was no beef from Tyson to buy. But, I can't (and shouldn't) have the right to tell Pacelle and others how to spend their own money.
If you don't like Pacelle's attempt to buy board membership in Tyson Foods, I have one piece of advice. Put you money where your mouth is. Buy shares in Tyson Foods.