This story was updated on Dec. 5, 2019 at 3 p.m. to add statements from Marriott and a PETA spokeswoman.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced Wednesday that it submitted a shareholder resolution to Marriott, calling on the hotel chain to end a policy that allows “wild-animal displays” at weddings and other special events.

PETA wrote in a release that it owned stock in Marriott, which is headquartered in Bethesda, “for the sole purpose of advocating for animal-friendly reforms.”

In another petition, PETA criticized Marriott for issuing an animal welfare statement without addressing either wild-animal displays or foie gras — a luxury food made from the liver of a duck or goose that has been force fed and artificially fattened.

“Marriott recently issued its first-ever animal welfare statement, but it makes no mention of foie gras or wild-animal acts, despite the cruelty inherent in these industries,” the petition reads.

The animal rights group pointed out that foie gras has been banned in some states, including California, and criticized by some famous chefs, such as Wolfgang Puck.


Wild animals have been prohibited at “more than 650 U.S. facilities,” PETA wrote in its release, including properties owned by developers such as Macerich and Simon Property Group.

It’s unclear how often these displays occur at Marriott properties. The company operates more than a dozen hotel brands, including Sheraton and The Ritz-Carlton.

PETA spokeswoman Jennifer Behr said the advocacy group was not sure how often wild animals were allowed at Marriott hotels, but that “once would be one time too many.”


Marriott’s animal welfare statement commits to “five freedoms” for animals set by the World Organisation for Animal Health, which include freedom from discomfort and “pain, injury and disease.”

“At Marriott, we understand that animal welfare is crucial to safe and responsible operations, entertainment, and food and product supply chains,” the statement reads. “… We expect our suppliers, vendors and business partners to comply with local standards and encourage them to surpass, where feasible, international standards on the ethical, humane and legal treatment of animals.”

On Thursday afternoon, the company issued a statement in response to PETA’s resolution.


“After the May launch of our first formal Animal Welfare Position Statement, we continue advancing our animal welfare practices and responsible product sourcing across our hotels globally,” it reads.

“Our next actions include assessing our operations and developing an educational and training campaign for associates and other stakeholders, including our supplier and vendor community. We will work with our partners to better understand customer and cultural expectations and best practices to ensure we’re continuing to make progress.

We acknowledge that our Position Statement is an initial first step in an ongoing journey and are committed to raising the standard of animal welfare across our global operations and supply chain.”