McDonald’s Under Attack For Treatment Of Pigs

By Charlene Badasie | 3 months ago

McDonald's

American financier Carl Icahn has started a proxy war with McDonald’s over the fast-food giant’s treatment of pigs. The business mogul, who is known for his aggressive campaigns against major companies, accused the fast-food giant of prioritizing profits over animal rights. To further his cause, Icahn reportedly nominated two people into the restaurant’s board of directors.

Icahn also expressed his disgust and disappointment at how McDonald’s has been complacent in the way suppliers treat their pigs. Along with the Humane Society of the United States, he claimed that the burger joint’s suppliers are particularly cruel to pregnant pigs. Speaking to Bloomberg News, Icahn said he feels emotional about these animals and the unnecessary suffering they go through. He added that pigs have a good brain and are feeling animals.

Additionally, Icahn who holds 200 shares in McDonald’s said that his motivation had nothing to do with profit. He only cared about the pigs’ well-being. Meanwhile, CBS reports that his nominees include President of Green Century Capital Management, Leslie Samuelrich who is devoted to protecting our water, air, and land. And Maisie Ganzler, the Chief Strategy and Brand Officer at Bon Appétit Management – a company that calls itself a food service for a sustainable future.

This is not the first time McDonald’s has faced scrutiny regarding its treatment of pigs. In 2012, the company promised to phase out its use of pork from suppliers who use gestation crates, which are the same size as the animal and leave no room to turn or lie down. At the time, the Humane Society of the United States applauded the announcement. But recently they maligned the fast-food chain for issuing several statements about ending gestation crates while their suppliers confined mother pigs in the same containment units for weeks on end.

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This year, McDonald’s once again vowed that it would only purchase pork from local producers that do not use the crates to house pregnant pigs. The company says by the end of this year 85% to 90% of its pork would be from free-range animals. It cited “industry-wide challenges for farmers and producers,” including the pandemic. The company expects to fulfill its pledge to use pork in the U.S. only from “sows housed in groups during pregnancy” by the end of 2024.

However, Icahn has his doubts. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, he said McDonald’s suppliers transfer pigs from crates only after knowing they’re pregnant. They should not be using the gestation crates at all. “They never delivered,” the 86-year-old told the publication. He also revealed that he quietly pushed for McDonald’s initial pledge at the urging of his daughter – a vegetarian who worked at the Humane Society at the time.

McDonald’s was quick to respond to Carl Icahn’s complaints regarding the pigs. The company explained that it would be nearly impossible to completely phase out the practice given the current state of the U.S. pork market. They also argued that the practice is in line with the current veterinary science applicable to large-scale production, which has been in use for decades throughout the industry. The company added that completely shifting away from suppliers that conduct these practices would harm its ability to provide people with quality products at affordable prices.