Activists are petitioning Colorado State University to turn down millions in donations received from a meatpacking company to fund a food innovation centre on campus.
Construction of the site could begin as early as this summer.
The university touts the construction of the $15 million as a facility which will allow students to participate in hands-on training and equipment development related to food safety, meat sciences and animal handling and welfare. The university received $12.5 million for the facility from Greeley-based meat processing company JBS USA.
Freshman Becca Bleil, a freshman at Colorado State University and a member of the Rams Organizing For Animals Rights student club, says it’s outrageous that a slaughterhouse would build a facility.
It’s already hard enough to concentrate on our studies. Now we’ll be facing the stench and screams of innocent animals in agony every time we walk to class. An on-campus slaughterhouse will mean that living, breathing animals come into the heart of campus and never make it out alive. It will mean that the animals’ organs, hides, and hooves will be transported off campus in trucks, potentially spilling blood, guts and fecal matter onto campus grounds.
The building will feature laboratory space, spaces dedicated to testing packaging and developing food products, a culinary kitchen and a demonstration area. It will also have a retail meat and dairy store.
CSU professor and animal welfare expert Temple Grandin will design a section of the facility, which will allow for students to learn about animal handling and welfare.
The building is named for Professor Emeritus Gary Smith and his late wife, Kay. He was the Monfort Chair and a professor for more than 20 years in CSU’s Department of Animal Sciences.
Bleil said one of the main reasons that she chose to attend CSU is because of the school’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Animal agriculture is a major contributor of greenhouse gases — opening a slaughterhouse on campus is a blatant violation of the university’s core commitment to work towards carbon neutrality.
If this slaughterhouse is built, I along with hundreds of students, have pledged to transfer to another school. Many incoming students are changing their decision to attend Cruelty State U, too. There is no room for cruelty on CSU’s campus — in fact, no college campus anywhere should allow an industry that is so violent to animals, harmful to the environment, and dangerous to humans.
Animal Sciences department chair Kevin Pond said the center is being built with support from people around the country as well.
“This is being built with funds from friends and alumni and with support from other individuals, because they realize the importance of having a global food innovation center like that in Colorado and having the site for the center be at Colorado State,” Pond said.