The connection between people and companion animals has received considerable attention from scholars. In her original and provocative ethnography Livestock/Deadstock, sociologist Rhoda Wilkie asks, how do the men and women who work on farms, in livestock auction markets, and slaughterhouses, interact with - or disengage from - the animals they encounter in their jobs?
Wilkie provides a nuanced appreciation of how those men and women who breed, rear, show, fatten, market, medically treat, and slaughter livestock, make sense of their interactions with the animals that constitute the focus of their work lives. Using a sociologically informed perspective, Wilkie explores their attitudes and behaviors to explain how agricultural workers think, feel, and relate to food animals.
Livestock/Deadstock looks at both people and animals in the division of labor and shows how commercial and hobby productive contexts provide male and female handlers with varying opportunities to bond with and/or distance themselves from livestock. Exploring the experiences of stockpeople, hobby farmers, auction workers, vets and slaughterers, she offers timely insight into the multifaceted, gendered, and contradictory nature of human roles in food animal production.
Award for Distinguished Scholarship in the Animals and Society Section of the American Sociological Association, 2011.
What members say
I loved this book as it given a lot of insight to the process in which meat is brought to the supermarket. It explains the interaction between the emotional ties to labor and the detachment of raising and slaughtering live stock. There is a sensuous explanation of the market and the background to how the theater of selling livestock and the attitudes arises. I live in the USA and the sociological parallels to hobby. farmers in the USA and the UK are striking. I can now better understand Hobby farmers and the decisions that they make regarding killing livestock and caring for animals that would have otherwise die do to serious birth defects. This book is great for anyone who wants to be a hobby farmer or a big cattle producer because it helps people to identify with their respected community.
The narrator made this book hard to concentrate on; boring and flat. The content is interesting except the author repeats themes and actual entire sentences too often and the scope of the subject is small considering the mass of the subject. I felt less like this was a sociological study and more like an opinion piece. It has good information about the state of animal welfare in small farms but too small of a scope to come to any conclusion