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Given his fearsome reputation and the facts of the case, it would not be unfair to question the genuineness of Carl Icahn’s crusade on behalf of the poor little factory-farmed piggies. For one, there’s the rather paltry size of his stake in McDonald’s, which would have cost the billionaire at most a whopping $54,000. For another, there’s his ownership of a pork packer that perhaps hasn’t done as much to safeguard the welfare of his porcine pals as it might. And then there’s the unmistakable feeling one gets that his ire has less to do with the cramped conditions of the sows whose offspring are destined for liquidation and reformation into McRibs than the fact the Mickey D’s lied to his face.

Well, if you continue to doubt the sincerity of Icahn’s willingness to cast his pearls before swine, uh, you can perhaps temper your cynicism ever so slightly.

Mr. Icahn sent a letter Tuesday to Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chief executive and chairman, criticizing the way pregnant pigs are housed on farms that supply pork to Kroger’s stores, as well as the median pay for workers at the Cincinnati-based company…. Kroger, the biggest U.S. supermarket operator in terms of sales, said in a statement that it isn’t directly involved in the raising or processing of any animals but that it regularly engages with advocacy groups and its suppliers to understand animal-welfare topics.

Unfortunately for those who believe that preventing pregnant porkers from turning around produces tastier meat (or just don’t care one way or other as long as they’re cheap), Icahn shows no sign of following his former nemesis in taking a less combative approach to getting his way.

Carl Icahn Targets Kroger Over Pork, CEO Pay [WSJ]

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