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From killing cows to culturing meat

Francesco Buscemi (Media, Communication and Performing Arts, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, UK)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 27 May 2014




The purpose of this paper is to investigate how in Britain, France and Italy the idea of the living animal is being detached from the action of eating meat. It is an ongoing historical process, which has recently been fuelled by the new issue of cultured meat.


Starting from Goody's developmentalist stages (Production, Distribution, Preparation and Consumption), first this work analyses historically how these stages have undergone the process of the disappearance of the animal origins of meat (animal origins of meat are parts like the head and legs that remind us that once meat was an animal). Second, this paper applies cultured meat to Goody's stage of Production, linking the new product to the historical, above described, process.


The analysis shows that, in the past, Goody's stages of Consumption, Distribution and Preparation witnessed the disappearance of the animal origins of meat, while Production was not affected by the phenomenon. Today, with testing on cultured meat, even the stage of Production has gone through this process. Now, all of Goody's stages are involved in the process. Usually considered a shocking novelty, cultured meat is instead a stage of a historical process.


No one has previously analysed the disappearance of the animal origins of meat relating it to Goody's stages, and a current issue like cultured meat has never been considered a further step of this process.



The author thanks first supervisor Jacquie L’Etang for her invaluable help and encouragement, and Julia Jahansoozi, who co-supervised the first part of the research.


Buscemi, F. (2014), "From killing cows to culturing meat", British Food Journal, Vol. 116 No. 6, pp. 952-964.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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