Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Carl Icahn is expanding his animal-welfare campaign to the nation’s largest supermarket chain, Kroger, after the famed activist investor initially targeted McDonald’s.
Icahn has submitted a plan to nominate two candidates to Kroger’s board, the Cincinnati-based company said in a release Tuesday.
Kroger said it first heard from Icahn on Friday. The grocer said that during the discussion, the billionaire investor “voiced his concerns regarding animal welfare and the use of gestation crates in pork production.”
In a letter to Kroger, Icahn also took aim at what he called an “unconscionable” disparity between the compensation of CEO Rodney McMullen and its median worker, according to reporting from CNBC’s Scott Wapner.
Kroger’s announcement Tuesday comes a little more than a month after Icahn launched a proxy fight with McDonald’s focused on the treatment of pigs. In a CNBC interview last Tuesday, Icahn addressed his involvement with the fast-food giant.
“I’m not doing that to make money,” Icahn told Wapner on “Closing Bell: Overtime.”
Instead, Icahn described his efforts as a response to his feelings on animal rights. “Emotionally, when you read about what they do to these animals, the unnecessary torture and cruelty, it really bothers me. Whenever I can do something about it, I try,” Icahn said.
Kroger said it will review Icahn’s proposed board nominees, Alexis C. Fox and Margarita Palau-Hernandez, as part of its standard governance policies. The company also addressed Icahn’s issues with animal treatment.
“While Kroger is not directly involved in raising or the processing of any animals, we are committed to helping protect the welfare of animals in our supply chain,” the press release said. “Kroger has an established Responsible Sourcing Framework to clearly define our policies, requirements and practices, including our Animal Welfare Policy, which articulates our expectation that all suppliers will have transitioned away from gestation crates by 2025.”
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