Breeding, Calving, and Trafficking in Conventional Beef Production

In: Society & Animals
Colter Ellis Department of Sociology, Montana State University Bozeman, MT USA

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This article uses qualitative and ethnographic methods to trace the beef production chain. An analysis of bovine artificial insemination, calving, and the trafficking of cattle as commodities reveals the various ways kinship and economic bonds are created between ranchers and cattle. These bonds are dynamic and at different times position cows as capital, calves as babies, and ranchers—both male and female—as inseminators, mothers, and traffickers of nonhuman animal bodies. Looking seriously at the ways love, connection, and kinship operate in the context of cattle production shows how animal treatment is experienced at different stages of production and by different members of the ranch family.

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