The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has filed an exempt solicitation with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission urging shareholders to vote in favor of its proposal on Domino's Pizza's 2012 proxy.
An exempt solicitation is a formal rebuttal to the company's statement in opposition to a shareholder proposal.
The HSUS submitted a shareholder resolution in October asking Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Domino's Pizza to report to shareholders the feasibility of using pepperoni and ham toppings that come from pork producers that don't use gestation crates to confine breeding pigs.
Gestation crates virtually immobilize breeding pigs for nearly their entire lives, according to the HSUS. Each animal is confined in a crate during her 4-month pregnancy, placed into another crate to give birth and then put back into a gestation crate until slaughtered.
In Domino's response to the resolution, the company told shareholders it "believes this is an issue that should be addressed directly with producers and suppliers, not customers."
However, the HSUS' exempt solicitation points out that other companies, including McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's, are creating policies to remove gestation crates from their supply chains.
According to Kristie Middleton, outreach manager of the HSUS, "producers meet customer demand, not the other way around."
The HSUS claims Domino's survey to study the feasibility of removing gestation crates failed to ask suppliers what they can do to end this practice.
The HSUS became a Domino's shareholder in January 2010 to try to implement animal welfare changes at the company.
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