Carl Icahn (billionaire) had hoped that McDonald's would shake up its board in order to better treat pregnant pigs. However, he was defeated in a vote.
Only 1% of shareholders voted for the nominees proposed by Mr Icahn (an investor in the firm).
McDonald's had refused to comply with Mr Icahn's demands. They claimed they were unreasonable.
According to the billionaire, he was inspired by his daughter, a animal lover who worked for the Humane Society, to confront McDonald's.
Activist investors like Mr Icahn, one of the few feared corporate raiders who was the model for Gordon Gekko's 1987 movie Wall Street, usually focus their attention on companies that need restructuring.
In a letter to the public, the 86-year old wrote last month: "At my current point in my career I consider it my responsibility for constructive activism to help rectify the glaring injustices perpetuated in many ineffective boards and management teams leading America’s top public corporations."
Mr Icahn bought shares worth approximately $50,000 and demanded that the company fulfill its 2012 promise to end pork orders from suppliers who put pregnant pigs into small crates.
McDonald's claims that it has made the industry more open to innovation since 2012, when it first pledged. These suppliers will supply 85% to 90% of McDonald's pork by the end of the year, and all pork purchased by the company by 2024.
In a letter sent earlier in the month, it urged shareholders not to accept his nominees.
The firm stated that Mr Icahn uses a narrow issue, one on which we have made industry-leading progress - McDonald's 2012 pork pledge - to justify changing the source of McDonald's pork in the US and reducing the number meat-based products on the menu.
The company stated that any change would create "an untenable financial burden for our customers."
In the meantime, final counts will be done. The results of votes on other shareholder propositions, such as the one for a racial equity auditor, were not shared by the firm.