Industrial Livestock and the Ecological Hoofprint

Tony Weis


Routledge International Handbook of Rural Studies

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).

Citation: 2016. In Mark Shucksmith, David L. Brown, Neil Argent, Bettina B. Bock, Lynda Cheshire, David Freshwater, Geoffrey Lawrence, Katrina Rønningen, Kai A. Schafft, and Sally Shortall (eds.) Routledge International Handbook of Rural Studies. Abingdon: Routledge.

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