McDonald’s under fire for failing to meet animal welfare commitments

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As a billionaire and one of Wall Street’s greatest success stories, Carl Icahn has a significant influence on the American business world. He is also controversial, as a friend and former special adviser to Donald Trump. But recently, Icahn has focused on challenging companies about their animal welfare standards.

In a public letter To McDonald’s shareholders published this month, the founder of Icahn Enterprises accused the fast food giant’s board of directors of not doing enough to reduce animal suffering in its supply chain.

The letter, which focuses on pig welfare and the overall issue of corporate sustainability, follows a similar open letter sent to meat giant Kroger.

Both letters challenge the companies’ use of gestation crates for pigs. According to the Humane League, metal cages are so small that pregnant pigs are unable to roll over.

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Denounce the lack of animal welfare of companies

In his letter, Icahn refers to McDonald’s 2012 commitment that it would source pork from suppliers without gestation cages within 10 years. The billionaire says the fast-food giant has failed to deliver on that pledge.

McDonald’s also recently claimed that by the end of this year, it “plans to source 85-90% of its pork volumes in the United States from sows not housed in gestation crates during pregnancy” .

But Icahn claims to see through these statements.

He writes, “This claim is a cynical fabrication intended to trick us into believing that this egregious form of animal abuse in McDonald’s supply chain virtually does not occur.”

“In reality, these sows, which have multiple litters of piglets each year, are confined to gestation crates during each gestation for about four to six weeks, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he continues.

“They’re going to spend those weeks immobilized in tiny crates, not much bigger than their bodies, where they can’t even turn around.”

Among other commitments, Icahn is demanding that McDonald’s completely phase out gestation crates by the end of next year. He adds, “which he failed to do this year, despite a decade to do so.”

In the scathing letter to Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen, Icahn struck a similar tone. He wrote: “You have led a company that certainly has the seriousness to lead change, but has instead tolerated cruelty to those who are most helpless.”

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