Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has started a proxy fight with McDonald’s over the fast food giant’s treatment of pigs, pushing for two board seats at the global fast food giant.
McDonald’s said in a press release on Sunday that Icahn has nominated Leslie Samuelrich and Maisie Ganzler for election at the company’s 2022 annual shareholders’ meeting.
“Mr. Icahn’s focus in making this nomination is on a scary issue related to the company’s pork commitment, which the Humane Society US has already introduced through a shareholder proposal,” McDonald’s said.
Icahn, who helped define a new era of capitalism in the 1980s after acquiring iconic companies, including Trans World Airlines, has in recent years urged McDonald’s to better treat pigs, according to The Wall Street Journal. In particular, he is said to have called for the end of an industrial practice that uses crates to house pregnant pigs so they can’t move.
“Animals are one of the things I’m very emotional about,” Icahn previously told The Journal.
The corporate raider has demanded that McDonald’s require all of its U.S. suppliers to switch to “crate-free” pork, according to the release. The fast food chain uses pork in its bacon cheeseburgers, breakfast offerings and its McRib sandwich.
“While the company looks forward to fostering further industry collaboration in this area, the current U.S. pork supply would make these kinds of commitments impossible,” McDonald’s said. “In addition, it reflects a departure from the veterinary science used for large-scale production across the industry, and would undermine the company’s shared commitment to provide customers with quality products at accessible prices.”
According to the press release, Icahn owns just 200 shares of McDonald’s. He is also the majority owner of a company that supplies packaging for the pork and poultry industries, according to McDonald’s, which wondered why Icahn hadn’t called on that company to make similar commitments.
Shares of McDonald’s closed slightly lower Friday at $250.60.