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Carnism

May 15, 2020 - Slate

How Cheap Meat Became an 'Essential' American Value

How Cheap Meat Became an 'Essential' American Value
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Keeping meat production moving during the pandemic is dangerous. But history shows that there’s little Americans won’t sacrifice for a steak.

How will people react, if the direst predictions of meat shortage come true? Historian Joshua Specht’s book Red Meat Republic: A Hoof-to-Tail History of How Beef Changed America, which is about the half-century between the end of the Civil War in 1865 and the passage of the Federal Meat Inspection Act in 1906 when Americans went from eating beef infrequently to seeing it as their birthright, has been on my mind. Many of the elements of our industrial meatpacking system, including the public’s willingness to tolerate brutality and exploitation of workers (and animals!) in order to have easy access to tenderloin and porterhouse.

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