Renovating Systems of Meat Production

Nierenberg argues that the industrialization of meat production has been accompanied by consolidation in the meat industry, so that only a handful of multinational corporations control most meat production. This concentration has led to many farmers loosing connection o their ani and control over their farms and has left consumers removed from the origins of their meat and ignorant of how it is produced (2005, pg. 6 and 34). This industrialization has also lead to an increased health risk from animal waste and from antibiotic resistant pathogens. This paper made me think of how the detrimental system Neirenburg discussed could be disassembled. Grass fed beef is currently much more expensive than meat produced in an industrial system. Is there any way that a system of sustainable husbandry could actually prove cheaper in the long run, if expenses like antibiotics are eliminated from the process? If not, would all prices of meat rise with a shift towards mostly grass fed beef and sustainable practices? Would this further limit who had access to protein or could government regulation control an influx in price of production? Is the best way to renovate the system to dissolve the large multinational corporations and open the system and market to small farmers or to institute regulations on how meat can be produced or is a combination of both methods necessary?


Nierenberg, D (2005). Happier Meals: Rethinking the Global Meat Industry. WorldWatch Paper 171.