Normalised, human-centric discourses of meat and animals in climate change, sustainability and food security literature

Arcari, P 2016, 'Normalised, human-centric discourses of meat and animals in climate change, sustainability and food security literature', Agriculture and Human Values, vol. 34, no. 1, pp. 69-86.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Normalised, human-centric discourses of meat and animals in climate change, sustainability and food security literature
Author(s) Arcari, P
Year 2016
Journal name Agriculture and Human Values
Volume number 34
Issue number 1
Start page 69
End page 86
Publisher Springer
Abstract The large-scale, intensive production of meat and other animal products, also known as the animal-industrial complex, is our largest food system in terms of global land use and contribution to environmental degradation. Despite the environmental impact of the meat industry, in much of the policy literature on climate and environmental change, sustainability and food security, meat continues to be included as part of a sustainable food future. In this paper, I present outcomes of a discourse analysis undertaken on a selection of key major international and Australian reports. After highlighting common themes in the ways that meat and animals are discussed, I draw on the animal studies literature to critically analyse the assumptions underpinning such policy documents. My analysis illustrates that animals are effectively de-animated and rendered invisible in these bodies of literature by being either aggregated-as livestock, units of production and resources, or materialised-as meat and protein. These discursive frames reflect implicit understandings of meat as necessary to human survival and animals as a natural human resource. A critical examination of these understandings illustrates their dual capacity to normalise and encourage the continuation of activities known to be seriously harming the environment, climate and human health, while at the same time obstructing and even denigrating alternative, less harmful approaches to food. In response, I offer some conceptual and analytical modifications that can be easily adopted by researchers on climate change, sustainability and food security with the aim of challenging dominant discourses on meat and animals.
Subject Bioethics (human and animal)
Environmental Sociology
Communication Studies
Keyword(s) Critical animal studies
Discourse
Emotion
Ethics
Language
Meat production
Non-human animals
DOI - identifier 10.1007/s10460-016-9697-0
Copyright notice © Springer Science + Business Media Dordrecht 2016
ISSN 0889-048X
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