Harris Ranch is California’s largest cow producer. Harris and their parent company, the Central Valley Meat Co., have proven themselves to be irresponsible and cruel to their workers, to the animals in their care, and to the planet. We are asking the University of California’s Office of the President to not renew their current purchasing contract with Harris Ranch because the company’s actions are inconsistent with UC’s values of sustainability and humanity. Sign our Harris Ranch Petition to add your voice to our organization’s messages to the University.
I urge the UC Office of the President and UC campuses to not renew Harris Ranch’s contract, and instead pursue procurement contracts for plant-based foods to support UC’s commitments to a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.
Why Drop Harris Ranch?
On countless occasions, Harris Ranch has abused the animals in their care, exploited the workers they employ, and contributed to the environmental degradation of the Central Valley. In their facilities, employees are forced to slit the throats of live, conscious animals — a violation of federal animal protection law. For decades, animal activists have been protesting human and animal abuse at their facilities.
Workers have sued Harris for racial discrimination and protested unsafe working conditions as far back as 2011. In 2012, Harris Ranch’s parent company, the Central Valley Meat Company (CVMC), was even forced to close another facility after 72-year old Leopoldo Guitierrez was crushed to death in a meat grinder. Most recently, the 150 positive cases of COVID-19 were found at facilities under supervision of the CVMC. CAL-OSHA found CVMC to be in serious violation of its duty to keep workers safe. CVMC failed to provide face coverings, let infected employees work alongside their peers, and did not inform employees when their coworkers contracted COVID-19. OSHA’s findings and Harris’ history of animal cruelty illustrates a pattern of abuse by the company for both humans and animals.
Lastly, Central Valley is the second-worst hot-spot for methane emissions in America. In addition to greenhouse gases which alter our climate and affect public health, Harris feedlots also generate dangerous levels of PM 2.5, particulate matter of the kind which “poses the greatest risk to health.” Central Valley cow feedlots (of which Harris Ranch is the largest) account for one-third of all PM 2.5 emissions in the Valley.
Such pollution harms surrounding impoverished communities and communities of color that are forced to live near Harris feedlots. These communities suffer from asthma and other non-communicable diseases at significantly higher rates than the general population. These practices are indicative of a pattern of environmental racism perpetuated by Harris Ranch and the animal agriculture industry as a whole.
Harris’ actions are indefensible, and at odds with the University of California’s duty to its students, to its California community, and to the planet. The University of California should make its money match its ideals by ending its contract with Harris and searching for more peaceful and just alternatives.
Take Action Now!
The UC’s contract with Harris Ranch expires in June, but the Office of the President is renewing it despite concerns of students. You can make your voice heard by taking any of the following actions:
- Sign the petition
- Send a message to Eric Pollack (firstname.lastname@example.org), head of UC purchasing, letting them know that you oppose the Harris Ranch contract, and would support negotiations with plant-based suppliers instead. Here’s a template you can use, but please do make it your own!
My name is [name] and I am a [UC student/alumnus/facilty/staff/concerned citizen], and I am writing to you with severe concerns about Harris Ranch, and animal supplier with which UC has active purchasing contracts. Cruelties perpetuated by Harris Ranch have recently been documented and shared with the world. It is despicable that the UC system is using student funds to support this business. Harris Ranch actively profits from the exploitation and mistreatment of humans and nonhumans, causing severe damage to the environment. I am writing to you to urge you not to renew the UC contract with Harris Ranch, and to instead pursue procurement contracts for ethical plant-based foods to support the UC’s commitments to building a more just, equitable, and sustainable world. Please hold the UCs to a higher standard for the environment, for humans and for the nonhuman animals with whom we share this world. Thank you,
- Join our campaign team to actively fight against factory farms and the cruelty perpetuated by Harris Ranch!