Blue Box Seminar

Mar 18th, 2022


Blue Box Seminar Co-sponsored by the Dept of Geography and Political Science.


Who:    Sarah Martin (Political Science) and Charlie Mather (Geography)


When: March 25, 2022, 3:00 – 4:00 pm

 Where:  online

Description:  Feed, energy and modes of domination in industrial food production

 Abstract: In this very preliminary presentation, we build on our industrial salmon aquaculture research by considering the problem of animal feed in relation to recent scholarship on energy. Industrial animal production, on both land and in the ocean, has come under increasing pressure to be more ‘sustainable’ due to its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, environmental degradation and animal welfare concerns. Industry is responding by promising to reduce its impact by targeting energy use and by reducing or utilizing waste through production efficiencies. In particular, industry is targeting the production of animal feed due to its significant contribution to greenhouse emissions and its high costs. To make sense of these innovations, we examine the industry’s taken-for-granted adoption of ‘the logic of energy’.

Our paper maps out a framework for analysing the problem of livestock production and animal feed that draws on political philosopher, Cara New Daggett’s recent book The Birth of Energy. Daggett maps out a framework for analysing the logic of energy, and illustrates the relationship between energy, work, efficiency and waste – historically and in the present. Key her to analysis is the issue of domination, which is an outcome of the logic of energy. We argue that her work on energy provides a way of critically assessing the relationship between animal feed and industrial animal production. It allows us to engage critically with contemporary efforts aimed at producing ‘sustainable proteins’ through innovations in animal feed, and it provides the basis for an argument about the governance of energy and the role of domination that is specific to industrial animal production.