Billionaire Carl Icahn’s attempt to improve the conditions of pigs killed on behalf of the burger chain McDonald’s was stopped in May 2022 by the meat company’s shareholders when they voted against two new board members the billionaire proposed. Icahn accused McDonald’s of keeping pigs inhumanely and breaking its promises to address the problem, but it seems that the shareholders thought that the suffering of their pigs was acceptable, and it did not need to be reduced by changing the company’s animal welfare policies as Mr Icahn suggested. Icahn’s nominees gathered only about 1 % of outstanding shares and all 12 company directors had been re-elected.

In February Icahn launched the campaign following numerous meetings with McDonald’s executives and the Humane Society of the United States, which has stated that metal gestation crates used to contain sows for almost all of their pregnancy are so small that the animals cannot turn around. In May, the two new nominees, Maisie Ganzler and Leslie Samuelrich, were presented to correct McDonald’s missed pledge to end the use of gestation crates by 2022. The company has blamed several pandemics for the breaking of their promise, as, apparently, they did not allow them to kill as many pigs for food as they wanted, and therefore animal welfare had to be compromised so the shareholders could continue profiting from the suffering and misery of the sentient beings they company exploits. It is not surprising that big fast-food meat chains like McDonald’s would care less about animals than profits, so any attempt to improve the welfare of the animals they kill at an increased cost is likely to be rejected. This is why ethical vegans who have not been deceived by greenwashing or veganwashing do not give any of their money and support to companies like these, which are the flagship companies of the animal agriculture industry, and who are the major threat to ethical vegan restaurants that are forced to compete with them.

“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’.