Activist Icahn Presses McDonald’s on Humane Pork

Feb. 21, 2022
An activist investor wants two seats on the McDonald’s Corp. board of directors to make the fast-food chain live up to its pledge to buy pork only from humanely treated sows.

An activist investor wants two seats on the McDonald’s Corp. board of directors to make the fast-food chain live up to its pledge to buy pork only from humanely treated sows.

Carl Icahn, a longtime gadfly investor, has nominated two members for the McDonald’s board. Icahn is focused on having McDonald’s fulfill a pledge it made in 2012 to not buy pork from producers who confine pregnant sows to “gestation crates.” These crates, which usually don’t give the sows any room to turn around, have been a long-standing focus of animal-rights activists.

Icahn prodded McDonald’s to make the 2012 pledge, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. He was reportedly inspired by his daughter, who at the time worked for the Humane Society.

McDonald’s claims that more than 60% of its pork is sourced from producers who don’t use crates, and it expects that to reach 85% to 90% by the end of this year. It says the pandemic and other challenges made it harder than anticipated go to 100% crate-free pork.

Icahn’s stake in McDonald’s is relatively small, amounting to about $50,000. Nevertheless, his nominees will be voted on at McDonald’s spring shareholder meeting, unless he and corporate leadership reach agreement on the issue before then.

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