Political Ecologies of Meat  book cover
1st Edition

Political Ecologies of Meat

Edited By

Jody Emel


Harvey Neo

ISBN 9780415736954
Published May 12, 2015 by Routledge
392 Pages

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Book Description

Livestock production worldwide is increasing rapidly, in part due to economic growth and demand for meat in industrializing countries. Yet there are many concerns about the sustainability of increased meat production and consumption, from perspectives including human health, animal welfare, climate change and environmental pollution. 

This book tackles the key issues of contemporary meat production and consumption through a lens of political ecology, which emphasizes the power relations producing particular social, economic and cultural interactions with non-human nature. Three main topics are addressed: the political ecology of global livestock production trends; changes in production systems around the world and their implications for environmental justice; and existing and emerging governance strategies for meat production and consumption systems and their implications. 

Case studies of different systems at varying scales are included, drawn from Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe. The book includes an editorial introduction to set the context and synthesize key messages for the reader.

Table of Contents


Alice J. Hovorka 

1. Introduction 

Jody Emel and Harvey Neo 

Part 1: The ‘Livestock Revolution’: Geographies and Implications 

2. Evolution of a Revolution: Meat Consumption and Livestock Production in the Developing World 

Ian MacLachlan 

3. Cattle ranching development in the Brazilian Amazon: Looking at Long-term Trends to Explore the Transition towards Sustainable Beef Cattle Production 

Pablo Pacheco and Rene Poccard-Chapuis 

4. The Political Ecology of Factory Farming in East Africa 

Elizabeth Waithanji 

5. A Changing Environment for Livestock in South Africa 

Emma R.M. Archer van Garderen, Charles L. Davis and Mark A. Tadross 

Part 2: Environmental Justice and Meat Production/Consumption 

6. Meat and Inequality: Environmental Health Consequences of Livestock Agribusiness 

Ryan Gunderson 

7. Can’t Go to the Fountain No More: Pigs, Nitrates and Spring Water Pollution in Catalonia 

David Sauri and Hug March 

8. Environmental Injustice in the Spatial Distribution of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations: A Case Study from Ohio, USA 

Julia Lenhardt and Yelena Ogneva-Himmelberger 

9. Neoliberal Governance and Environmental Risk: ‘Normal Accidents’ in North Carolina’s Hog Industry 

Elizabeth Stoddard 

Part 3: Biopolitics, Knowledge, and the Materialism of Meat 

10. Breed Contra Beef: the Making of the Piedmontese Cattle 

Annalisa Colombino and Paolo Giaccaria 

11. Biopower and an Ecology of Genes: Seeing Livestock as Meat via Genetics 

Lewis Holloway 

12. Cows, Climate and the Media 

Keith Lee, Joshua P. Newell, Jennifer R. Wolch and Pascale Joassart Marcelli 

13. The Political Science of Farm Animal Welfare in the US and EU 

Connie Johnston 

14. Battling the Head and the Heart: Constructing Knowledgeable Narratives of Vegetarianism in Anti-meat Advocacy 

Harvey Neo 

Part 4: The Governance of Meat Production Systems 

15. Producing Halal Meat: the Case of Halal Slaughter Practices in Wales, UK 

Mara Miele and Karolina Rucinska 

16. Roundtabling and the Greening of the Global Beef Industry: Lessons from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) 

Adrienne Johnson 

17. Contesting Urban Agriculture: the Politics of Meat Production in the License-Buy-Back Scheme (2006-2007) in Hong Kong 

Kin Wing Chan 

18. Complications and Implications of Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Livestock 

Chris Rosin and Mark H. Cooper 

19. Domestic Farmed Fish Production: An Overview of Governance and Oversight in the US Aquaculture Industry 

Paula Daniels and Colleen McKinney 

20. Conclusion 

Jody Emel and Harvey Neo

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Jody Emel is Professor of Geography at Clark University, USA. 

Harvey Neo is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the National University of Singapore.


"In a world where food has become the focal point of environmental politics, it’s high time for an unflinching survey of meat. From the economy of farmed fish and livestock genetics to the politics of rainforest ranching and Halal slaughter, Emel and Neo’s superlative collection has something to surprise and engage everyone: researchers, activists and consumers."Paul Robbins, Director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA and author of Lawn People and Political Ecology

"With meat squarely on the public agenda, this book could not come at a better time. Constituting a range of case studies on the many dimensions of industrial meat production, this book pushes beyond the simple debates of meat or no meat and asks readers to think more deeply of how we as human animals want to live with our non-human animal co-inhabitants."Julie Guthman, University of California – Santa Cruz, USA and author of Agrarian Dreams: the Paradox of Organic Farming in California and Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice and the Limits of Capitalism

"If the project of animal geography is to make non-humans and our relations with them visible and accountable in our socio-spatial understanding, then this excellent volume does just that, placing the industrialised lives and deaths of farmed livestock, without alibi, at the centre of a critical bio-political ecology." – Henry Buller, University of Exeter, UK, appointed member of the Farm Animal Welfare Committee (FAWC) and Chair of the FAWC/Defra Welfare at Killing group.

"By broaching topics of systematic exploitation and injustice within the livestock industry, the book brings a multitude of environmental, political, and economic contradictions into the spotlight. Perhaps exposure is the first step towards advocacy." Heide K. Bruckner, University of Graz, Austria