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Activists hold graphic protest against university’s Tyson Foods contract

Student animal rights activists spilled “blood” on the steps of Sproul Hall at the University of California at Berkeley on Wednesday because the school has a contract with a company that the activists say is cruel to animals.

Tyson Foods is supplying the university with chicken, and student activists with Direct Action Everywhere say Tyson is a factory farm that is cruel to animals.

The activists said an investigation into Tyson Foods showed chickens starving to death, or unable to get food or water because they couldn’t stand or walk.

Student activists said the “blood” used in the protest is made from food coloring and vegetable glycerin and poses no threat to people or animals.

Zoe Rosenberg, a UC Berkeley student and an investigator with Direct Action Everywhere, said:

“UC Berkeley should be leading the way in doing what’s right, not defending the violent status quo. … Our leaders and our food system are failing animals, workers, and the future of this planet.”

UC Berkeley students met with the university’s executive director of dining Christopher Henning in April, and he rejected the idea that Tyson Foods uses factory farm methods, according to the activists.

Students are acting now because productive dialogue with university officials has broken down, they said.

University spokesman Adam Ratliff responded to the actions Wednesday, saying:

“We have proactively reviewed the meat products and sustainability portfolio information from our suppliers to ensure alignment with the University of California Office of the President sustainability criteria.”

Direct Action Everywhere On Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021, University of California at Berkeley student activists with Direct Action Everywhere protest a university contract with Tyson Foods, which they say is cruel to animals.

Ratliff said:

“For example, we purchase certified humane labeled Mary’s Chicken, a major meat item we use.” 

He said:

“We will only work with suppliers who meet halal and kosher requirements and/or whose animal welfare methods are in alignment with best practices and will discontinue our relationship with any supplier if they fail to live up to these standards.” 

Indeed, activists said that the university ended its contract with Seaboard Foods, which supplied pork to the university. That was after an investigation in August 2020 by UC Berkeley students.

Ratliff added:

“In our campus dining facilities, we prioritize using ingredients that are locally grown, humanely treated, and environmentally and socially responsible.”

Students want the university to stop buying from alleged factory farms including Hormel Foods, Tyson Foods and Harris Ranch Beef Company.

People who want to support the protest can sign a petition here.

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