Sanderson shareholders vote to keep using antibiotics

Sanderson Farms shareholders have voted down a proposal to phase out the use of medically important antibiotics for disease prevention in its broiler operations.

Roy Graber Headshot
(Sanderson Farms)
(Sanderson Farms)

Sanderson Farms shareholders have voted down a proposal to phase out the use of medically important antibiotics for disease prevention in its broiler operations.

According to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the measure had 10,570,693 votes opposing the stockholder proposal, and 8,015,222 votes in favor of it. Abstaining were 450,628 voters.

The results from the annual meeting, held on February 15, were filed with the SEC on February 20.

A similar stockholder proposal was presented and rejected during the company’s annual meeting that was held last year.

Sanderson Farms is the third largest poultry company in the United States, but the largest poultry company in the country that has not pledged to transition at least some of its flock to a raised without antibiotics program. The company has been vocal about its support for keeping antibiotics in poultry production for improved health of the chickens and the environment, despite growing pressures from groups concerned about potential links between antibiotics in animal production and antimicrobial resistance.

In an earlier SEC filing, Sanderson Farms had advised shareholders that they could expect a proposal to eliminate the use of medically important antibiotics from the company’s supply chain, and recommended that shareholders vote against it.

“We believe this change would harm our customers, consumers, the environment, the communities in which we operate, the animals we raise, our company and our stockholders,” the Sanderson Farms board stated in the earlier filing.

The company further stated that its customers are not demanding chicken raised without antibiotics, and that there is actually an oversupply of antibiotic-free (ABF) chicken products.

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