Maintaining its focus on pork production and gestation-sow stalls, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) filed a legal complaint with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against Seaboard Foods. At issue, HSUS is claiming Seaboard is violating the federal securities law in making statements about its pork production system.
The issue started when HSUS, a Seaboard shareholder, filed a shareholder proposal last September, urging the company to move toward eliminating the use of gestation-sow stalls.
SEC regulations’ require that Seaboard give advance notice to HSUS about its response to the shareholder proposal. Seaboard published an opposition to it in its Proxy Statement without such advance notice, HSUS says. The animal activist group is charging that Seaboard’s response included false claims of “cruelty-free” animal-care practices, because the company is not addressing gestation-sow stalls, among other things.
“Both the lack of advance notice and the deceptive opposition statement are violations of federal securities laws and rules,” HSUS contends. “Because of the lack of notice of this deceptive opposition statement Seaboard deprived The HSUS of the opportunity to ensure that only truthful information related to its proposal is presented to shareholders.”
This legal challenge represents the third in a series of complaints—one filed each month in January, February and March-- against Seaboard Foods filed by HSUS over violations of federal securities law. Also, on Jan. 31, HSUS released an undercover video involving a Seaboard breeding facility in Goodwell, Okla., along with a nearby Prestage Farms’ gestation-sow unit. The focus was on gestation-sow stalls and baby pig processing practices such as castration, tail docking and needle-teeth clipping.
A full copy of The HSUS’ legal complaint is available here.
Seaboard Foods is part of the Seaboard Corporation, headquartered in Merriam, Kan. Seaboard Foods is the United States’ third-largest U.S. pork producer and it also is a pork packer.
HSUS has filed similar complaints with Smithfield Foods in the past.