Corporate ownership of livestock operations for meat and animal by-products has had a dramatic effect on human-animal relationships in rural areas of the United States. This evolution mandates mass production of livestock in large concentrated animal feed organizations (CAFO’s). In contrast, animal breeding for sport, such as hunting which also produces food, has not generated the same adverse effect on these relationships. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with two rural Iowa women, one raising livestock to be sold for meat and by-products; the other raising livestock to be hunted. Ferdinand Tonnies’ social groupings, gesellschaft and gemeinschaft, were used as theoretical concepts applied using inductive analysis. Findings suggest that, with corporate ownership, the human-animal interaction in these two groups are now very different from one another. The meat industry objectifies animals; they are a means to a financial end, a “product.” Hunting, which remains culturally rooted, allows for a closer relationship; the animal is still thought of as a living individual. The world must be fed and as consumers of these products, it is important to understand how corporate ownership of animals is changing the relationship between human and animals while other relationships resulting in animal meat remain steeped in tradition.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License