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The Ecological Hoofprint and the Population Bomb of Reverse Protein Factories

Tony Weis
Review (Fernand Braudel Center)
Vol. 33, No. 2/3, FOOD, ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT: CRISIS OF THE MODERN WORLD-SYSTEM (2010), pp. 131-152
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23346879
Page Count: 22
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Ecological Hoofprint and the Population Bomb of Reverse Protein Factories
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Abstract

This paper examines the environmental costs and unevenness of rising livestock production on a world scale. To do this, it develops a framework—the ecological hoofprint—for analyzing the nature of the industrial grain-oilseed-livestock complex. This includes attention to: the scale of production and the dramatic pace of change; systemic imperatives and production methods; biophysical instabilities and "overrides"; feed conversion inefficiencies; resource budgets and pollution burdens; and the commodification of sentient life. Ultimately, it argues that industrial livestock production is a central vector in the global food economy, marked at once by profound inequalities in consumption and a perilous and violent ecology. This trajectory is heavily implicated in near-term food insecurity and price volatility, and portends disastrous human and ecological outcomes in the longer term.

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