Icahn appoints two members to McDonald’s board to challenge pork policy

The McDonald’s logo is seen outside the McDonald’s fast food chain in New York, U.S., October 22, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

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Feb 20 (Reuters) – McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N) said on Sunday that Carl Icahn had named two members to its board of directors in a growing fight over the burger chain’s treatment of pigs.

The billionaire activist investor, who said he owns 200 shares of the company, has nominated Leslie Samuelrich and Maisie Ganzler to run for office at the 2022 annual meeting, the company said in a statement, adding that it would assess nominees as she would any other nominee for the board.

Icahn previously said it was “obscene” to treat animals used for McDonald’s products.

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Icahn emphasized McDonald’s new commitments, including requiring all of the company’s U.S. pork suppliers to switch to “crateless” pork, and setting specific deadlines, the company said.

Such a commitment would be impossible given the current supply “and would undermine the company’s shared desire to provide customers with high-quality products at accessible prices,” the statement said.

McDonald’s made a commitment in 2012 to source pork from producers who do not use small crates to house pregnant sows. Icahn has been pushing for change behind the scenes, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month.

“Since making this commitment, McDonald’s has led the industry and today an estimated 30-35% of U.S. pork production has transitioned to group housing systems,” the statement said. of the society.

The company plans to source 85% to 90% of its U.S. pork volumes from sows not housed in gestation crates during pregnancy by the end of 2022 and expects 100% of its American pork will come from sows housed in groups during pregnancy by the end of 2024, he added.

McDonald’s also said it was “remarkable” that Icahn, the majority owner of Viskase, a company that supplies packaging for the pork industry, “has not publicly called on Viskase to adopt commitments similar to those of the ‘McDonald’s Commitment in 2012’. Icahn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

McDonald’s said it only buys about 1% of its pork production from the United States and does not own any sows or produce or package pork in the United States.

Icahn, who has become known as a corporate raider on Wall Street, was embroiled in a proxy battle with Southwest Gas Holdings Inc (SWX.N) in November last year. Read more

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Reporting by Anirudh Saligrama in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Andrew Chung and Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Mark Porter

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