October 3, 2022

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Carl Icahn starts a proxy fight with McDonald's over the welfare of pigs

Carl Icahn starts a proxy fight with McDonald’s over the welfare of pigs

But McDonald’s has not yet fulfilled its promise. The company said Sunday that Icahn nominated two people to elect its board of directors in a clear start to the proxy battle with the fast-food giant, a confrontational attempt to collect proxy votes from shareholders to replace board members, and to gain enough power within the company. to change its policies.

In recent years, activist investors have used this tactic not only to get higher profits, but also to align companies with their moral or political positions. A group of investors successfully led a hedge fund called Engine Number 1 He won the third seat on ExxonMobil’s board in June, leading the oil giant to its positions on climate change.

Icahn appointed Leslie Samuelrich, President of Green Century Capital Management, which “enhances its influence as a contributor to protecting our water, air and land,” and Maisie Ganzler, Chief Strategy and Brand Officer at Bon Appétit Management Company, which Describe itself as a “food service for a sustainable future”.

McDonald’s said that “Icahn’s stated focus in making this nomination is on the narrow issue of the company’s commitment to pork,” referring to the lamb stalls. A senior executive in the supply chain at McDonald’s He said in 2012 that boxes “are not a sustainable production system for the future” and that “there are alternatives we think are better for the welfare of the seed.”

In the 2017 “Animal Health and Welfare Update”, McDonald’s He said That by the end of 2022, you’ll get pork in the US only from suppliers who don’t use stalls to house pregnant pigs.

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But McDonald’s said Sunday that it now expects only 85 to 90 percent of US pork to come from pigs not housed in crates during pregnancy by the end of the year, citing “industry-wide challenges for farmers and producers,” such as Corona Virus Outbreaks of epidemics and diseases. McDonald’s said its commitment to exclusively use US pork obtained from “pigs housed in groups during pregnancy” is now expected by the end of 2024.

Icahn raised concerns about the scope of McDonald’s 2012 commitment, Says The Wall Street Journal reports that the company’s suppliers only move pigs out of crates after confirming they are pregnant, at which point pigs can be more than a quarter into a 16-week pregnancy. Icahn was expecting McDonald’s to ditch its carry-on boxes entirely, he said.

When comment was reached on Monday about Icahn’s concerns, a McDonald’s spokesperson directed The Post to the company statement, which says Icahn “asked for new commitments,” including requiring McDonald’s suppliers in the US to move to “box-free” meat Pig McDonald’s said that “the current supply of pork in the United States would make this kind of commitment impossible,” and that it “would be detrimental to the company’s joint pursuit of high-quality products at accessible prices.”

According to the Humane Society of the United States, gestational crates are “too restrictive for pigs to turn.” She said in 2013 that pigs relegated to stalls “suffer from a large number of care problems, including a high risk of urinary tract infections, weak bones, overgrown hooves” and other problems. Transfer. It was pregnancy boxes forbidden in at least 10 states, including California, Colorado and Florida, according to Compassion in World Farming.

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“Animals are one of the things I really feel passionate about,” Icahn told the newspaper, adding that he learned of the boxes from a Humane Society executive who hosted him for dinner in his New York City rooftop home.

Icahn, who is the subject of a new documentary on HBO, is worth more than $23 billion, according to Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His stake in McDonald’s is small: The company said he owns about 200 shares, although he told the newspaper he owns 100, which equates to about $25,000 in the $187 billion company.

In its statement on Sunday, McDonald’s questioned why Icahn would not use its majority stake in Viskase to pack pork and poultry to impose similar obligations on that company. Representatives for Icahn did not immediately respond to a request for comment on McDonald’s statement or about the number of shares in the company he currently owns.