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Consuming the surplus: expanding “meat” consumption and animal oppression

Bill Winders (School of History, Technology, & Society, Georgia Institute of Technology)
David Nibert (Department of Sociology, Wittenberg University)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Article publication date: 1 September 2004



The number of animals raised and slaughtered for food in the U.S. has increased dramatically since 1945. We examine how two factors have been fundamental in this expansion of “meat” consumption: the market and the state. U.S. agricultural policies that emerged form the New Deal centered on price supports and production controls. While these policies were aimed at controlling supply, they instead spurred intensive and industrial techniques that resulted in continuous overproduction, especially in corn, wheat and soybeans. As a result, farm organizations and the state promoted “meat” production and consumption as a way to alleviate the surplus. To handle this expansion, intensive and industrial methods reshaped “meat” production, resulting in more oppressive living conditions for animals raised as “meat”. We explore this connection between the market, state policy and animal oppression. We also briefly analyze how this relationship has likewise affected workers and peripheral nations in the world economy.



Winders, B. and Nibert, D. (2004), "Consuming the surplus: expanding “meat” consumption and animal oppression", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 24 No. 9, pp. 76-96.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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