The American billionaire Carl Icahn is pressuring the meat chain McDonald’s to only serve flesh of pigs who lived in better captive conditions before they were killed for the company. Although most of the farm animals that McDonald’s commissions to kill are cows and chickens, many pigs are also included. The company promised in 2012 to phase out the sourcing of meat from pigs housed in gestational crates, but the billionaire claims it is still selling flesh from pregnant sows that were kept in such small immobilising cages, and he doesn’t want anyone to be eating pigs who lived under such conditions. 

The wealthy financier, the founder of the New York-based Icahn Enterprises, owns 200 McDonald’s shares, so he is using his shareholder status to pressure the company to change the sources of some of its meat. He wants to put two people, Leslie Samuelrich and Maisie Ganzler, on McDonald’s board so they can make the company only sell “crate-free pork”. It has been reported that he is doing this because of his daughter Michelle Nevin Icahn, who has been involved with the Humane Society of the United States, an animal welfare organisation that campaigns about how animals should be kept and killed.

The burger chain said that, by the end of the year, it expects to source 85% to 90% of its pig flesh from suppliers who keep pigs in different captive conditions, and by 2024 none of the pigs killed for the company would have been in gestational crates.

Icahn said to Bloomberg: “I think there’s a way I can be really helpful…That’s a situation that is just horrible. It’s obscene. You got these companies making all this money and the animals are just suffering for no reason.”  Although it is not known if Icahn still eats any animal product or if he only doesn’t eat pigs due to his original ethnicity, we don’t believe he has anything to do with the recent McDonald’s PR campaign that has managed to convince some people who define themselves as vegans to give some of their money to the meat chain in exchange of increasing the number of plant food served among the flesh of bulls, pigs, fishes and chickens they sell in their 37,000 restaurants. 

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.