Author:Jane Jones (Aberystwyth University)
Paper short abstract:
This paper tentatively asks whether the symbolic imagery of farming as a traditional lifestyle and the economic reality of the industry both act to negate the lived reality of farm animal abuse.
Paper long abstract:
Arguably farming is an important industry for the economy as the sector directly employs 1.8 per cent of the UKs workforce and British farmers and growers produce 60 per cent of the UKs total food supplies (NFU, 2006). Farming can also be said to have an even larger presence in terms of public consciousness as exemplified by the identification of 'mad cow disease' in 1986 and the ensuing public health scandal (BBC News, 2000). And indeed, for farmers themselves, the industry can be summed up as an income achieved through intensive labour (and government subsidies). Furthermore, such labour can be symbolically bound up with ideas about naturalness and a traditional lifestyle that harks back to the Protestant ethic (Weber, 1930) where hard work was believed to be the saviour of the soul. This paper tentatively asks whether the power of such symbolic imagery and economic reality acts to negate the lived reality of farm animal abuse.