Billionaire Icahn challenges McDonald’s over pork | DW | 21.02.2022

US fast food giant McDonald’s was rattled by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, after he announced the nomination of two allies to the company’s board, in an effort to change its pig-farming practices.

“Carl Icahn has nominated Leslie Samuelrich and Maisie Ganzler for the 2022 election,” McDonald’s said in a statement on Sunday, adding that the board would “evaluate the nominees as it would any other candidates proposed to it.”

The intended board shakeup is only the latest such move to take place in corporate America. Last year, several members of Exxon’s board of directors were ousted, after investors protested that the fossil fuel company needed to pay more attention to the issue of climate change.

Icahn has challenged McDonald’s over its use of pork suppliers who allegedly mistreat animals by keeping pregnant pigs in small crates. 

According to the Humane Society, the metal enclosures – used to contain sows for almost all of a pregnancy – are so small that the animal cannot turn around, which can lead to health issues such as infection or anatomical problems.

McDonald’s points to Icahn-owned company

Icahn said animal welfare concerns were behind his motivation to take on McDonald’s at the board level.

“I really do feel emotional about these animals and the unnecessary suffering,” he told US news outlet Bloomberg.

Icahn said he had worked together with the Humane Society to push McDonald’s to change their practices ten years ago. The company then promised to phase out the suppliers, but it has not yet done so.

McDonald’s “did a little something, but never delivered,” Icahn said.

The company shot back at the accusations, noting that Icahn was the majority owner of Viskase, “a company that produces and supplies packaging for the pork and poultry industry,” according to the fast food giant.

“It’s noteworthy that Mr. Icahn has not publicly called on Viskase to adopt commitments similar to those of McDonald’s 2012 commitment,” the company said.

jcg/dj (AFP, AP)

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