Meat Animals, Humane Standards, & Other Legal Fictions
Law, Culture & Humanities, 2012
12 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2012
Date Written: July 17, 2012
Law and food are distinct concepts, though the discipline (Law and Food) implies a relationship worthy of study. The conjunction (“and”) creates meaning. However, its absence also conveys meaning. For example, “meat animal” suggests that animals can be both meat and animal. This conflation has powerful legal implications. National Meat Association v. Harris (2012) makes chillingly plain the law’s indifference to whether a meat animal is alive or dead. This essay examines the way supposedly humane federal practices ignore the systematic brutalization of “food animals” as those animals get processed into marketable flesh. It concludes with some observations about why this legal blindness exists.
Keywords: National Meat Association v. Harris, humane standards, meat animal, industrial agriculture, National Meat Inspection Act, preemption, Supreme Court, law & food, food law, animal law
JEL Classification: D18, H51, K10, K19, K23, K30, K32, K39, L66, L79, N50, Q10, Q18, Q28, R38, Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation