Meat industry

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The term meat industry describes modern industrialized livestock agriculture for production and marketing of meat (in contrast to dairy products, wool, etc.). In economics, it is a fusion of primary (agriculture) and secondary (industry) activity and hard to characterize strictly in terms of either one alone.

A great portion of the ever-growing[1] meat branch in the food industry involves intensive animal farming in which livestock are kept almost entirely indoors or in restricted outdoor settings like pens.

Many aspects of the raising of animals for meat have become industrialized, even many practices more associated with smaller family farms, e.g. gourmet foods such as foie gras.

Criticism[edit]

Critical aspects of the effects of industrial meat production include

Many observers[who?] suggest that the expense of dealing with the above are grossly undercounted in present economic metrics and that full cost accounting would drastically raise the price of meat.[citation needed]

Possible alternatives[edit]

Increasing health care costs for an aging baby boom population suffering from obesity and other food-related diseases, concerns about obesity in children have spurred new ideas about healthy nutrition with less emphasis on meat. Native wild species like deer and bison in North America would be cheaper[2] and have less impact on the environment.[citation needed] The combination of more wild game meat options and higher costs for natural capital affected by the meat industry could be a building block towards a more sustainable livestock agriculture. A growing trend towards vegetarian or vegan diets and the Slow Food movement are indicators of a changing consumer conscience in western countries. Producers on the other hand have reacted to consumer concerns by slowly shifting towards ecological or organic farming.

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