Carl Icahn Launches McDonald’s Proxy Battle Over Treatment of Pigs

  • McDonald’s confirmed that Carl Icahn has nominated two people to its board, launching a proxy battle.
  • The announcement comes after Icahn slammed the company for its use of gestation crates for pigs in its supply chain.
  • McDonald’s inititally pledged to end the practice by 2022, but extended the commitment to the end of 2024.

Carl Icahn has started a proxy battle for two seats on the McDonald’s board, the fast-food chain confirmed on Sunday.

The billionaire investor nominated Leslie Samuelrich and Maisie Ganzler, who will stand for election at the company’s 2022 annual meeting. The announcement comes after Icahn slammed McDonald’s earlier in the week for failing to end the use of gestation crates for pregnant pigs in its supply chain, a practice he told Bloomberg causes “unnecessary suffering.”

“Mr. Icahn’s stated focus in making this nominations relates to a narrow issue regarding the Company’s pork commitment, which The Humane Society US has already introduced through a shareholder proposal,” McDonald’s said in a statement shared with Insider. “This is an issue on which McDonald’s has been a leader.”

While McDonald’s initially pledged to mandate pork end suppliers the use of gestation crates for pregnant sows — a practice animal rights groups and have long decried as inhumane — by the end of a 10-year culminating in 2022, the company has come up short on its goals.

In its statement, McDonald’s said the company is on track to source 85% to 90% of its US pork supply from sows not housed in gestation crates during pregnancy by the end of this year, with an adjusted forecast of reaching 100% by the end of 2024.

“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,” McDonald’s said in the statement, referring to the 2022 timeline.

McDonald’s said it plans to meet its extended goal “despite industry-wide challenges for farmers and producers, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and global swine disease outbreaks.”

Representatives for Carl Icahn did not immediately respond to a request to comment from Insider, though the investor told Bloomberg TV earlier this week that he intends to push on the issue “as much as we can.”

Icahn’s known to take large positions in public companies before agitating for change. In the case of McDonald’s, Icahn has just 200 shares, worth about $50,000, according to the company.

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