TERRITORIES OF BEEF
“New energy landscapes and the abandonment of traditional sites are
two sides of the same process, and insatiable drive toward the end of the
earth that has seen the extractive frontier constantly redefined” (Bridge 48).
Beef is exported from the United State all around the world. The corporate centralization of feedlots creates an vague relationship between the source of the beef and the final product. The physical landscape of beef extends almost entirely across the United States. There are few amounts of the natural and urban landscapes unaffected by the extraction of beef. Ranches, stockyards, processing sites, and sales (grocery/restaurants) make up the physical distribution sites of beef. Distribution between each of these sites requires a reliance on many different resources. Fossil fuels drive the distribution of beef across the country. The reliance on fossil fuels is intensified with an increased reliance on meat. This creates social challenges with issues such as nonrenewable resources and the impacts of energy development on social and cultural values.
Territories of beef have become an ingrained part of consumer culture. The line between a material territory and natural world is blurred. Territories of cattle are fostered out of the societal value placed on beef. They are expanded through distribution and deepened through time. The disconnect between product and consumer results in an extensive environment unintentionally shaped by these extraction territories. If a connection to nature was upheld throughout extraction process, the territories would have be vastly different and thus have shaped society differently. However, it is not until we begin to examine the origin of cattle, the production processes it requires to make beef, and the waste it produces cam we can fully understand the extent of its territories. Through the examination of material territories we can begin to understand our place in our environment and look for new ways to foster rather than demolish our relationship with what we consume and the natural world.