About EDGAR Online | Login
 
Enter your Email for a Free Trial:
The following is an excerpt from a DEF 14A SEC Filing, filed by BECTON DICKINSON & CO on 12/18/2014.
Next Section Next Section Previous Section Previous Section
BECTON DICKINSON & CO - DEF 14A - 20141218 - PROPOSAL_4
Proposal 4. SHAREHOLDER PROPOSAL REGARDING AN ANNUAL REPORT ON ANIMAL TESTING

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, 1536 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036, the owner of 21 shares of BD common stock, has given notice that it intends to present for action at the annual meeting the following stockholder proposal.

RESOLVED, to promote accountability for animals used by our Company, the Board should issue an annual report to shareholders detailing clear plans to maximize the use of nonanimal testing methods and procedures to promote the best possible care of animals.

Supporting Statements:

Companies that conduct experiments on animals acknowledge that public sensitivities associated with doing so leave the companies vulnerable to public relations disasters and falling stock value when reports of abuse or neglect of animals surface. Thus, to protect shareholders’ investments, it is incumbent upon our Company to demonstrate transparency and accountability by having procedures in place to promote the best possible care of animals used both in-house and at external laboratories.

Our Company supported animal testing at facilities with histories of failing to adhere to minimal federal guidelines for the treatment of animals in laboratories. For example, in 2014, our Company funded a study 1 in which monkeys were infected with the measles virus. The study was conducted at a facility that has been

 

1   1 Lin et al. 2014. mBio 5(2):e01047-14.

 

56


Table of Contents

repeatedly cited for violations such as housing social nonhuman primates in solitary confinement, deviating from approved study protocols, and performing multiple surgeries without justification or rationale. 2 In addition, monkeys and other animals have died at this facility from neglect and unsafe laboratory conditions.

In another study, led by a BD researcher, mice were subjected to retro-orbital bleeding, a blood collection technique in which a glass tube is used to pierce an area behind the eye to draw blood. 3 This method is banned in the UK because it is so cruel and can result in hemorrhage, ulceration, blindness, bone fracture, and other painful injuries to the eye. Yet our Company used this method despite the availability of more humane blood collection methods.

It is also imperative that our Company has a clear plan to maximize the use of nonanimal testing methods, otherwise it risks lagging behind in implementing innovative, scientifically superior, and more humane testing methods. For example, the Company sells antibodies derived from a painful method of production in animals called the “ascites” method even though effective and humane alternatives exist. Ascites antibody production involves causing irritation to an animal’s stomach before injecting cells that spur the growth of a massive tumor. The animals experience pain and distress as their stomachs grossly distend and fill with antibody-containing fluid. A needle is inserted into the animals’ stomachs to withdraw the fluid, and the animals are often forced to endure multiple rounds of this procedure before being killed. 4 This method is so painful that a number of countries have banned it, and the U.S. government recommends against its use. 5 , 6

These examples highlight the need to for a strategy to maximize the use of nonanimal testing methods and improve the welfare of animals used in-house and in experiments financially supported by our Company.

We urge shareholders to vote FOR this proposal.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS’ RESPONSE

For the reasons discussed below, the Board of Directors believes that the preparation of an additional annual report to shareholders as requested by the proponent is unnecessary and would not serve the best interests of BD and its shareholders. Accordingly, the Board recommends a vote AGAINST the proposal.

As a medical technology company, BD bears a responsibility to assure the safety and efficacy of its products for their intended uses. At times, to ensure that we meet our obligations, animal testing is utilized and serves as an important component of our research and development efforts. In some cases, we are legally required by regulatory authorities to use animals in the development and testing of our products.

At the same time, BD is committed to the humane treatment of laboratory animals, the responsible use of animals in medical research and the use of alternatives to animal testing whenever possible. Consistent with this commitment, BD has is place a policy relating to the use, care and treatment of laboratory animals. The policy, among other things, requires BD associates and any outside investigators and animal suppliers engaged by BD to comply with the “3Rs’’ of animal research—

 

   

“Replace” the use of animals with other non-animal methods where feasible;

 

   

“Reduce” by using the fewest number of animals possible while still maintaining statistical validity; and

 

   

“Refine” by developing procedures that limit or reduce the potential for discomfort to animals.

 

2   https://acissearch.aphis.usda.gov/LPASearch/faces/CustomerSearch.jspx.
3   D’Souza et al. 2013. J Pharm Sci. 102(2): 454-61.
4   http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/newsletters/v8n3/8n3mcard.htm.
5  

https://www.medizin.uni-tuebingen.de/tierschutz/antibody.pdf.

6   http://oacu.od.nih.gov/ARAC/documents /Ascites.pdf.

 

57


Table of Contents

In addition, under the policy, the use, care and treatment of laboratory animals by BD and the third parties we use for our animal testing must at all times meet or exceed applicable legal and regulatory requirements, guidelines and standards, including the Animal Welfare Act. We consistently evaluate the third parties we use for animal testing to assess compliance with our policy and legal and regulatory requirements. Allegations of mistreatment of animals by BD or third parties are taken very seriously and addressed promptly.

BD’s commitment to the humane treatment of laboratory animals is borne out by the fact that the blood collection method cited by the proponent in its supporting statement has not been used by BD since 2010. Further, BD previously implemented a project to eliminate wherever possible the use of the ascites method for the production of antibodies, with the result that BD has virtually eliminated its use of this method for the production of these antibodies.

Our existing policies and practices reflect BD’s deep commitment to the humane care and treatment of laboratory animals, the responsible use of animals in medical research and the use of alternatives to animal testing whenever such methods are feasible. The implementation of this proposal will not result in any meaningful enhancement of BD’s current efforts in this area and would not be an effective use of BD’s resources.

ACCORDINGLY, THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS RECOMMENDS A VOTE AGAINST PROPOSAL 4.

EDGAR® is a federally registered trademark of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. EDGAR®Online is not affiliated with or approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.