Carl Icahn blasts the fast food giant for ‘crating’ pregnant animals
McDonald’s should dump pork suppliers that crate pregnant pigs, billionaire investor Carl Icahn told the Wall Street Journal earlier this month. Icahn, who recently said he “feels really emotional” about animals, considers the practice cruel.
According to the investor, McDonald’s failed to fulfill the promise it made a decade ago to stop buying pork from suppliers that use gestation crates – special enclosures in which pregnant pigs are kept for much of their lives so they can’t move.
The billionaire owns a mere 200 shares in the fast food giant, equivalent to a roughly $25,000 stake in the $187 billion company. However, it didn’t stop him from nominating two new candidates for McDonald’s board of directors to support his case.
“Mr. Icahn’s stated focus in making this nomination relates to a narrow issue regarding the company’s pork commitment,” McDonald’s said in a statement on Sunday.
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The company, which uses pork for its bacon cheeseburgers and McRib sandwiches, argued that some progress regarding pork suppliers has already been made. It vowed to source 85-90% of its US pork from pigs not housed in gestation crates by the end of the year and switch entirely to ‘crate-free’ pork by the end of 2024.
In the statement, McDonald’s acknowledged Icahn’s concern regarding pig treatment, but wondered why he failed to raise the question within his own pork and poultry supplying firm, Viskase.
“Mr. Icahn’s ownership provides him with unique exposure to the industry-wide challenges and opportunities in migrating away from gestation crates. Thus, it’s noteworthy that Mr. Icahn has not publicly called on Viskase to adopt commitments similar to those of McDonald’s 2012 commitment,” the fast food giant stated.
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