Industrial Livestock and the Ecological Hoofprint

Inequality, Degradation and Violence

Authored by: Tony Weis

Routledge International Handbook of Rural Studies

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138804371
eBook ISBN: 9781315753041
Adobe ISBN: 9781317619864


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The interconnected practices of growing, preparing and eating food have always been central to human social relations and to the diversity of cultures. Agriculture is also humanity’s most fundamental ecological relationship, involving the organisation of photosynthetic activity and the management (and usually reduction) of plant and animal diversity over a given landscape. For roughly 10,000 years, agriculture and permanent pasture have been the biggest human land uses, displacing self-organizing ecosystems and, with this, reducing the habitats of non-domesticated animals while increasing the direct control exerted over the lives of domesticated animals. In short, agriculture comprises an inextricably interwoven set of social, ecological and inter-species relations (Duncan, 1996; Friedmann, 2000).

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