McDonald’s, Investor Feud Over No-Crate Pork

April 22, 2022
McDonald’s Corp. and activist investor Carl Icahn are engaged in a dispute that has now gone public over how the pork that the company uses is raised.

McDonald’s Corp. and activist investor Carl Icahn are engaged in a dispute that has now gone public over how the pork that the company uses is raised.

Icahn released a blistering letter April 21 accusing McDonald’s of “misleading customers” with “poor excuses for nonperformance” regarding its promises to stop using pork from sows confined to narrow gestation crates. He nominated two candidates for McDonald’s board, who will stand for election at the company’s annual meeting May 26.

McDonald’s replied with a letter of its own, calling Icahn’s demands “completely unfeasible” and asserting that it would take up to 400 times the animals now being raised crate-free to put enough pork in the supply chain for McDonald’s. The letter also accused Icahn of hypocrisy for owning a majority stake in Viskase, a supplier of casings and other packaging for the meat industry, because Viskase does not confine its products to crate-free pork.

Icahn has made animal welfare a cause in recent years, and has been pushing McDonald’s over the crate issue for a decade. He was motivated at least in part by his daughter’s work for the Humane Society of the United States.

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