Billionaire Carl Icahn Goes After McDonald’s Over Pig Welfare

Photo: Brett Jordan 

When it comes to the welfare of pigs, Carl Icahn is a man who has never wavered. He’s known for his aggressive campaigns and tight grip on Corporate America, but this time around, he’ll be taking on something dear to him. 

On Sunday, McDonald’s announced that Icahn had put forward two additional directors to their board. The fast-food chain said that the move “relates to a narrow issue regarding the company’s pork consumption.” 

“I really do feel emotional about these animals and the unnecessary suffering you put them through,” said Icahn last week in an interview. “A pig has a good brain, and it’s a feeling animal.” 

Icahn has a history of targeting specific firms, including Yahoo, Dell, and Netflix.

His latest campaign urges McDonald’s to require all its US-based pork suppliers to stop confining pigs in super tiny crates that they can’t move or even turn around in. 

McDonald’s says that Icahn bears only 200 stakes in the company, which would be just above $50,000 as of Friday’s closing price.

In 2012, the fast-food behemoth committed to slowly eliminating their use of gestation stalls for pregnant sows.

The company says that by the last months of 2022, 85% to 90% of its US pork will come from sows who are not quartered in gestation stalls. And by 2024, they envision making it up 100%.

The fast-food giant rejected Icahn’s proposal and said it has demanded “for new commitments,” such as exclusively sourcing “crate-free” pork. 

McDonald’s said, “While the company looks forward to promoting further collaboration across the industry on this issue, the current pork supply in the US would make this type of commitment impossible.” 

According to them, the company sources 1% of US-produced pork and does not own any sows. 

McDonald’s also said that it is “noteworthy” that Icahn is a principal shareholder of Viskase, which makes and supplies the packaging of the pork industry; however, he has “not publicly called on Viskase to adopt commitments similar to those of McDonald’s 2012 commitment.” 

In an interview, Icahn has stated that he plunged on the issue seeing as McDonald’s “never delivered” on its commitment a decade ago.


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