ENVI 233 The Industrial Animal

Last offered Spring 2016

This class is inspired by a January 2015 New York Times exposé written by the food journalist Michael Moss. "At a remote research center on the Nebraska plains," he wrote, "scientists are using surgery and breeding techniques to re-engineer the farm animal to fit the needs of the 21st-century meat industry. The potential benefits are huge: animals that produce more offspring, yield more meat and cost less to raise. There are, however, some complications." There are always complications. In this class, we examine the historical development of the industrial animal. Exploring the physical, scientific, and political infrastructures that support American industrial meat production, we pay critical attention to the biological complications that have arisen in shaping animal life to fit the needs of the modern factory. We examine the methods--from synthetic vitamins and artificial light to antibiotics and artificial insemination--industrial producers use to overcome the obstacles of biology. Finally, we consider the industrialization of the meat animal in the context of the industrialization of feedstuff crops like corn and soy, changing US consumption patterns, local and national food politics, and the human labor that makes it all possible.
Class Format: lecture
Requirements/Evaluation: midterm and final exam; papers
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: Environmental Policy & Environmental Science majors; Environmental Studies concentrators
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Divisional Attributes: Division II
Other Attributes: ENVI Environmental Policy,ENVP PE-A Group Electives,ENVP PTL-A Group Electives,ENVP SC-A Group Electives,PHLH Nutrition and Food Security
Enrollment Limit: 16
Expected Enrollment: 16
Class Number: 3400
ENVI 233 LEC The Industrial Animal Division 2: Social Studies Adam M. Romero
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