Talk about trickle down economics, we're starting to see how the negative aspects of the current economy are trickling down to other sectors. Now, an unexpected development is surfacing with the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and its stockholdings.

Several years ago, PETA started buying shares in publicly traded meat companies, which allowed the group to work toward influencing the companies' operational protocols. Now, as those shares slip lower, PETA has had to step up its stock purchases in meat-related companies.

Now, this can be spun two ways. On one side, if PETA wants to try to maintain its access to shareholder meetings so it can offer resolutions to generate attention and influence, it has to purchase more stock. In most cases, a shareholder must own at least $2,000 worth of stock in the company for one year prior to a resolution's submission date. If its stock holdings value dips below that minimum at any point during the year, PETA is unable to submit a resolution. That's according to federal regulations.

"To remain eligible to submit the resolutions in a depressed market, PETA has had to revamp its stock-purchasing strategy by buying additional shares," according to the group's news release.

Of course, if the money exists, and animal activist groups have good-sized bank accounts, smart investors know that a down-market is a good time to buy shares. When the market turns around, not only are the holdings worth more, but you'll also have greater influence.

Some of the companies that PETA has recently upped its holdings include, Pilgrim's Pride, Tyson Foods, Sonic Corp., O'Charley's, Domino's Pizza, California Pizza Kitchen and Ingles Markets.