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Global Climate Change and the Industrial Animal Agriculture Link: The Construction of Risk

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This paper examines discourses of stakeholders regarding global climate change to assess whether and how they construct industrial animal agriculture as posing a risk. The analysis assesses whether these discourses have shifted since the release of Livestock’s Long Shadow, a report by the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which indicated that the industrial animal agriculture sector as a whole contributes more to global climate change than the transportation sector. Using Ulrich Beck’s theorizing of the “risk society,” this paper examines how various animal rights and welfare groups, environmental organizations, meat industry stakeholders, governmental agencies, and newspapers in Canada, the United States, and internationally investigate and construct industrial animal agriculture as a risk, if at all, and how their respective discourses conflict. The findings indicate that while some stakeholders acknowledge industrial animal agriculture’s contribution to global climate change, for the most part the problematization of animal agriculture has not increased since the release of Livestock’s Long Shadow, and the animal agriculture industry has seemingly not lost its power to “rationalize risk.”

Affiliations: 1: University of Windsor Canada, Email:


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