Understanding Animals-Becoming-Meat: Embracing a Disturbing Education

Bradley D Rowe


In dominant consumerist societies, eating animals has become one the most hegemonic and atrocious forms of human-nonhuman interaction. In this article, I show how meat eating is a forceful educational issue that warrants critical analysis. I argue that understanding, and especially watching, animals-becoming-meat—that is, the processes through which animals are subjugated, confined, and killed in order to become edible food—is necessary to become aware of the nonhuman suffering implicated in the exploitive practices of industrial animal agriculture and slaughtering. I locate the educative significance of animals-becoming-meat within a pedagogy of visual disturbance. Given the great extent that corporate agriculture goes to conceal the brutality behind its walls, I believe we must be unsettled with disturbing visuals of animals-becoming meat in order to begin to think critically. We ought to see, for ourselves, how whole animal bodies become edible “pieces of meat.”


Critical Pedagogy; Animal Studies; Human-Nonhuman Interaction; Agriculture; Meat; Capitalism

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ISSN 1920-4175 Critical Education