What's the Matter with Meat? draws back the curtain that obscures the true costs of industrialized meat production. The book exposes how the industry is expanding worldwide at a rapid pace, with just a few large companies monopolizing the majority of the market. This global survey of factory-produced meat examines the practices of the industry in five major production centres: the usa, Europe, Brazil, Australia and Asia.
The system generates enormous corporate profits while providing very low prices to consumers, but has an outsized and often negative impact on surrounding communities. Katy Keiffer focuses on issues such as labour, genetics, animal welfare and environmental degradation, as well as probing less-reported topics such as 'land grabs', where predator companies acquire property in foreign nations for meat production, frequently at the expense of local agriculture.
The current industry model is simply not feasible for the future, as our planet will soon run out of the resources required to raise animals on such a scale. A salutary, hard-hitting critique of the meat-producing industry and its harmful effects, What's the Matter with Meat? exhorts consumers to resist the lure of cheap meat and encourages governments to foster alternative methods, and the industry itself to amend its practices. This book is not about telling people to stop eating meat. Rather, by exposing current industry practices we can all be aware of the perils of supporting the system; instead of urging people to avoid meat, it proposes that we demand and pay for better meat.
Katy Keiffer, a former food service professional, produces and hosts What Doesn't Kill You, a long-running weekly radio podcast on the Heritage Radio Network that focuses on the intersections of people, policy and the food system.
"By writing this book, Katy Keiffer didn't intend to stop us from eating meat. Instead, her wish was that we become more aware of the hidden costs of industrial-scale meat production, dominated now by just a handful of multinational corporations. Her well-documented study covers developments in the USA, Asia and Southeast-Asia, Europe, the UK and Australia [...] Keiffer tackles a range of topics including the business of genetics, animal diseases, environmental degradation and labour conditions."
– Nexus magazine
"Katy Keiffer highlights the environmental, human, and animal welfare truths that the international meat industry tries to hide from consumers in this a compelling – and necessary – book."
– Barry Estabrook author of Pig Tails: An Omnivore's Quest for Sustainable Meat
"A thorough and well researched analysis of everything that's wrong with industrial meat production. Her book is worth reading for its focus on animal welfare, antibiotic resistance, and worker safety, but even more for its critique of the effects of animal feed production on international trade and land grabs. This book is for everyone who cares about how meat-eating affects our planet."
– Marion Nestle is professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, and is the author of What to Eat