VT Law: SEC complaint alleges deception by JBS and Pilgrim’s Pride

Vermont Business Magazine Vermont Law and Graduate School’s Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic (FAAC) has filed a complaint on behalf of the Humane Society of the United States and the Center for Biological Diversity with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) against JBS S.A. and its affiliates, including Pilgrim’s Pride, among the largest meat and poultry producers in the world, for misleading and deceptive sustainability claims. The complaint highlights discrepancies between JBS's public declarations and its actual environmental and animal welfare practices, posing significant risks to investors. 

FAAC empowers students to become effective advocates for animals, providing hands-on experience with real-world legal matters. This complaint against JBS, worked on by FAAC student clinicians Kristi Fox JD '24 and Vanessa Kranz JD ’25, is part of FAAC's ongoing efforts to hold corporations accountable for their impact on animal welfare and the environment.

“JBS’s claims of achieving net-zero emissions by 2040 are not only ambitious but also unsupported by concrete plans,” said Laura Fox, director of FAAC. “Their failure to disclose the actual risks and impacts of their practices harms animals and is a disservice to investors and the public. This complaint aims to ensure transparency and accountability in their operations.”

The complaint underscores that JBS’s sustainability claims, which include commitments to high animal welfare standards, are contradicted by documented evidence of poor animal handling and environmental practices. This action calls for the SEC to scrutinize JBS’s disclosures and demand comprehensive, truthful reporting. The complaint is especially timely given JBS’s pending initial public offering (IPO) and associated registration statement, in which the complaint alleges contains false and misleading statements. 

"Given the clear discrepancies between JBS's public promises and its actual practices, we implore the SEC to investigate the company’s claims regarding animal welfare, climate, and the environment. Investors and consumers deserve accurate information in order to evaluate JBS in respect to these crucial standards of corporate conduct,” said Rebecca Cary, managing attorney of Animal Protection Law at the Humane Society of the United States.

To read the complaint online, visit https://www.humanesociety.org/blog/jbs-pilgrims-pride-misleading-investors-animal-welfare

The Humane Society of the United States works to end the cruelest practices toward all animals and fights all forms of animal cruelty to achieve the vision behind the name: a humane society. Visit www.humanesociety.org for more information.

The Center for Biological Diversity believes that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, the Center works to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. Visit www.biologicaldiversity.org for more information.

Vermont Law and Graduate School’s Farmed Animal Advocacy Clinic (FAAC) provides students with hands-on experience in advocating for animal welfare. Through direct involvement in real-world legal challenges, students develop practical skills applicable to various career paths, all while making a tangible impact on animal protection, environmental stewardship and corporate accountability. Visit www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/clinics-and-externships/farmed-animal-advocacy-clinic to learn more.

Vermont Law and Graduate School, a private, independent institution, is home to a law school that offers ABA-accredited residential and online hybrid JD programs and a graduate school that offers master’s degrees and certificates in multiple disciplines, including programs offered by the Maverick Lloyd School for the Environment, the Center for Justice Reform and other graduate-level programs emphasizing the intersection of environmental justice, social justice and public policy. Both the law and graduate schools strongly feature experiential clinical and fieldwork learning. For more information, visit vermontlaw.edu

Source: SOUTH ROYALTON, Vermont (June 17, 2024) — Vermont Law and Graduate School

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