Animal rights activist seeking seat on Tyson Foods board


LITTLE ROCK — The head of the Humane Society of the United States said Tuesday he has filed paperwork as a candidate for election to the board of directors of Tyson Foods.

The Humane Society has been a frequent critic of Tyson’s business ties to companies the organization claims are cruel to animals.

HSUS President and CEO Wayne Pacelle said he would urge Tyson, one of the world’s largest meat processing companies, to commit to a definite time frame to phase out the confinement of sows in gestation crates, small cages in which breeding pigs are placed.

In May, the animal rights group asked a subsidiary of Tyson Foods to stop purchasing pigs from a Wyoming breeding supplier after alleging cruel treatment of sows and inhumane conditions.

The Humane Society of the United States released a video taken at Wyoming Premium Farms in Wheatland, Wyo., which showed employees kicking live piglets, swinging piglets in circles by their hind legs and striking adults pigs with their feet and fists.

The Tyson subsidiary later stopped purchasing pigs from the Wyoming facility.

“It’s certainly unusual for a lifelong animal advocate to run for the board of the second-largest meat company in the world,” Pacelle said in a news release. “Nonetheless, it is imperative that a voice on Tyson’s board speak for the company’s many customers, partners and investors who are demanding the end of gestation crates and more humane treatment of animals.”

Tyson Foods spokesman Gary Mickelson said the company was not surprised that Pacelle wanted to sit on the board.

“We’re handling the nomination according to the law and our company’s by-laws,” Mickelson said in an email. “We’re committed to humane animal treatment and expect the same from the independent family farmers who supply us with chickens, hogs and cattle.”