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PETA Buys Groupon Shares Too Late to Address Animal Circus Deals

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    PETA has shelled out more than a few dollars to help address an issue it's passionate about -- the care of animals in circuses -- but their purchase appears to have been made too late.

    The animal rights group says it bought enough Groupon shares last week to be allowed to address the company at next month's annual meeting in Chicago, and to submit a shareholder resolution seeking policy changes.

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    PETA claims Groupon is providing circus deals for companies that have been cited numerous times for violating the Animal Welfare Act, including endangering the public and animals, failing to provide adequate veterinary care and handling animals dangerously.

    Groupon issued the following statement regarding PETA's claims:

    "We require animal-focused events and experiences to have clear inspection reports for animal cruelty from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for at least two years prior to their feature on our site. When we receive reports of potential violations, we check the merchant against our policies and -- when warranted -- remove the offer from our site. -- Groupon spokesman Bill Roberts

    Roberts also said PETA will not be allowed to speak at this year's meeting because it wasn't a shareholder as of March 31, plus the deadline to submit proposals for this year's meeting "has long since passed."

    PETA spokesperson Shakira Croce said the group plans to be at the meeting regardless -- whether it's inside or outside the meeting -- and will definitely plan to address the company at its 2015 annual meeting.