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Monday, July 28

Thursday, May 1

  1. page The McDonaldisation of Animals edited Name: Daniel de Jong Student Number: N8832048 Tutor: Dr. Jey Rodgers {skinning a chicken.gif} …
    Name: Daniel de Jong
    Student Number: N8832048
    Tutor: Dr. Jey Rodgers
    {skinning a chicken.gif}
    I filmed this myself in Brisbane.This chicken de-boner can go through 800-1000 chickens per day.
    The Artefact
    The artefact is a video of an unskilled factory worker who is part of a production line for the sale of chicken meat. The worker in the video has been trained to separate various parts of the chicken carcass into containers which will then be used for direct sale to retail establishments such as restaurants and supermarkets. The worker is only trained in this role and plays no other part in the assembly line. The workers employed in this specific role are paid per chicken, which is designed to motivate and enhance their productivity rates and maximise the quantity of the product for sale. This maximises the production of the end product, which is the various components of the chicken.
    The Public Health Issue
    The public health issue is that Australians are eating over twice the amount of meat as recommended by the National Health and Medical Research council (National health and Medical Research Council, 2003). The main cause of death in Australia is Ischaemic heart disease of which has modifiable risk factors directly related to diet (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011). Reducing the aetiological factors of ischaemic heart disease, such as atherosclerosis, can be achieved by reducing the consumption of red meat as well as products high in saturated fats such as dairy (Willett, 2012).
    {chickens1.jpg} {chickens2.jpg} {chicken7.jpg}
    Literature Review
    Australia’s population is increasingly becoming urbanised with 88.1% of Australians currently living either in major cities or inner regional areas (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013). The recommended daily intake of meat according to the National Health and Medical Research Council is one, to one and a half servings of meat per day but Australians on average are consuming more than double this amount (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2003). As Australia’s population is increasingly becoming more urbanised, there is an increased demand to supply meat to urban areas. This has led to the rationalisation of the meat industry to produce an efficient method of mass-producing animal meat and products to meet the demand. Traditional farming methods such as owning a house cow have become obsolete with Animals now becoming a profitable product and are manufactured for either consumption of their carcass or for their produce, such as milk and eggs. There are many adverse reactions to the increasing demand for animal produce such as environmental factors, overnutrition as a result of excessive consumption of animal products and the unethical treatment and killing of animals. The focus of this project, however, is to illustrate the impacts that the operational elements of the Australian meat industry in relation to the increase of mortality from chronic illness.
    The rationalisation of the meat industry can be integrated into Ritzer’s theory of McDonaldisation who integrates Weber’s four steps to increasing efficiency and profits (Ritzer, 2004). By using the paradigm of chickens, the following examples will highlight how the Australian meat industry is evolving to produce chickens well beyond the required amount to maximise efficiency and profits. In 2012, 549.9 million chickens were slaughtered for meat in Australia and this number is increasing according to projections from the Australian Chicken Meat Federation (Chicken Meat Federation Australia, 2013). This number could be significantly higher if it were to include the amount of chickens that are discarded as a by-product of the egg industry. An example that amplifies the efficiency of the chicken industry is a process called ‘sexing chicks’, in which male chickens are identified at one day of age and are subsequently destroyed (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, 2013). This is because the males produce less meat than the females are incapable of laying eggs. The methods of breeding chickens have also greatly enhanced the ability to identify the sex of chicks at the earliest stage possible such as cross breeding certain species that produce clearly identifiable females by their colour. The fast turnaround time to identify the male chickens for destruction increases the capacity to develop the female chickens. This special method of breeding also impacts the colour of the egg so it is more appealing to the consumer.
    An example of the calculability of the Chicken industry in Australia is to produce a broiler chicken, one that is bred for meat, in the least possible amount of time. After the sexing process, which theoretically cuts the cost of rearing unwanted chickens by 50%, efficient methods of breeding and using specialised feed have cut the cost per kilogram of chickens dramatically. In 2009 the cost per kilogram was $5.67, which is almost half the amount per kilogram in 1987 of $9.67 (Australian Chicken Meat Federation, 2013). In 1975 it took on average 64.1 days for a chicken to reach an acceptable weight for meat of 2kg. To reach the same weight in 2010 took only 35 days, and this is without any form of steroids or hormonal treatment, which is illegal in Australia.
    The Control of producing chickens may have once been the role of farmers, but has now been replaced by specialised, unskilled workers who are trained to work within the production line of chicken manufacturing. Skills such as sexing or de-boning the chickens are taught to unskilled workers to increase the efficiency of the production line. An example of this is chicken de-boners who can separate the various cuts of a chicken for sale in less than 20 seconds and are able to go through 800-1000 chickens per day. This highly efficient production of animal produce is making meat and other animal products much cheaper and available to all Australians. The production of chickens can be linked to Henry Ford’s assemble line approach in compensating quality for quantity, of which is having a profound effect on the health of Australians and the prevalence of non-communicable disease. The excessive consumption of meat has been directly correlated to diet related non-communicable disease (Holford, 2007)
    The World Health Organisation recognises that saturated fats from animal sources are one of the main constituents that lead towards the development of obesity and cardiovascular diseases (World Health Organisation, 2011). This trend towards the high mortality rate caused by chronic disease can be related to Omran’s epidemiological transition where urbanisation and population growth have transitioned the major causes of death from infection diseases to chronic illness (Omran, 2005). The nutrition transition is another theory that categorises the change of diet and health patterns through five stages (Popkin, 2006). The first stage is the Palaeolithic stage where energy and protein was mainly sourced from plant and vegetables with high fibre intake and minimal meat consumption. This stage had a low prevalence of chronic disease with the main mortality being infection disease. The second and third stages represent famine and receding famine respectively. The fourth stage of degenerative disease has a high prevalence of diet related non-communicable disease (Popkin, & Larsen, 2004). This is consistent with modern society in Australia where urbanisation and technological advancements in food processing are increasing the morbidity rate from diet related non-communicable disease (DR-NCD). Furthermore, Popkin suggests that decreasing meat prices and the urbanisation of the population are constituents in this shift to the degenerative disease stage of the nutrition transition (Popkin, 2006).
    The World Health Organisation predicts that the nutrition transition that is occurring on a global scale will be responsible for two-thirds of the burden of disease, of which animal produce are a major constituent (Chopra, Galbraith, & Darnton-Hill, 2002). This projection signifies the impact the McDonaldisation of the meat industry is having on the prevalence of chronic disease both in Australia and around the world in terms of the low cost and high availability of meat products.
    Overnutrition is a major public health issue in Australia and can be directly related with the overconsumption of animal produce. The McDonaldisation of the Australian meat industry not only met, but also has surpassed the demand of an urbanising society and is contributing to the high mortality rates associated with diet related non-communicable disease. Combined with the ethical, environmental and nutritional elements that all have unfavourable outcomes, the meat industry has become a conglomerate of enterprise that is mass-producing livestock on a scale that is not nutritionally required in 2013.
    Cultural and Social Analysis
    The Australian meat industry can be compared with Marxism in that the consumption of animals and their produce has long surpassed the traditional methods of farming. Peter Singer describes todays farming of animals as a competitive market that uses methods aimed at increasing production and lowering cost (Singer, 1990). As described earlier by utilising Weber's theory of rationalisation, major corporations are now mass producing animals in manner that is aimed at profit, with little to no regard for ethical and health issues. Ingham’s Enterprises, which is Australia’s largest producer of chicken, is currently considering a float of its company on the Australian Stock exchange and is an example how the mass production and farming of animals will be profits driven to increase share price and its stockholders portfolios (Financial Review, 2013).
    Another aspect of the Australian meat industry that can relate to Marxism is the production and marketing of ethical products. Factory farming has boomed over the past 30 years, and so has the awareness associated in which the animals have been treated. Speciesism as identified by Peter Singer means that as humans we have a prejudice against other species (Singer, 1990). In todays society in which meat consumption is on the rise (Australian bureau Statistics, 2012), Australian’s are looking toward an ethical option rather than abstinence from meat products to combat the capitalism that is the driving force behind the inhuman treatment of animals. An example of this is a company called Lilydale, which is a major free-range chicken company and is prevalent in major supermarkets, is an alternative offering ethical meat that is marketed as chickens living in green pastures and roaming freely in open spaces. A company called Baiada, which owns Lilydale free-range chickens, also owns Steggles chicken that supply chicken to many of the fast food franchises in Australia such as FKC, Nandos and McDonalds. This exemplifies that major corporations are capitalising on the ethical food market by providing a somewhat ethical product, which is in stark contrast to other products it produces under another company name.
    Analysis of the Artefact
    My artefact represents the efficiency in which the Australian meat industry can produce and kill an animal in the shortest timeframe possible. It also shows the blatant disregard we have for the animals we eat and that we don’t really understand what happens behind the scenes of the meat industry, but rather see a nicely wrapped product on the supermarket shelves.
    I identify myself as a flexitarian and consume a mostly vegetarian diet. This is because I am kosher and only eat certain animals, and because I do not like the systematic killing of animals. Although I still consume animals on occasion such as chicken, I always opted for the free-range alternative. I consume quite a lot of animal produce such as milk, eggs and cheese as I previously thought these products had no ill effects on the animals. My thoughts on this have changed dramatically as I have completed my research for this product. In particular, there are by-products of the meat industry that I feel are directly related to the McDonaldisation of the industry such as bobby calves from milk production and the sexing of chickens after a day to only breed females.
    My views on ethical eating have changed drastically with free-range in particular being far from ethical. I endeavour to look for animal products such as eggs and cheese that are genuinely ethical so I can continue to consume them guilt free. Perhaps it may be time to buy some chickens and a cow for the backyard.
    Thank you for reading my wiki.
    Reference List
    Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2007). Population Distribution. Retrieved from
    Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2011). Causes of death, Australia. Retrieved from
    Australian Chicken Meat Federation. (2013). Industry facts and figures.
    Retrieved on September 3, 2013, from
    Australian Institute of Helath and Welfare (2013). Chronic disease determinants.
    Retrieved from
    Department of Agricultre, Fisheries and Forestry. (2006). Chicken Sexing.
    Retrieved September 9, 2013, from
    Chopra, M., Galbraith, S., & Darnton-Hill, I. (2002). A global response to a global problem: The epidemic of overnutrition. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 80(12), 952-958.
    CSIRO, (2011). The facts on eating red meat. Retrieved September 28, 2013, from
    National Health and Medical Research Council (Australia). (2003). Dietary guidelines for australian adults. Canberra: NHMRC.
    Omran, A. R. (2005). The epidemiologic transition: A theory of the epidemiology of population change. The Milbank Quarterly,83(4), 731-757. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0009.2005.00398.x
    Singer, P. (1990). Animal liberation. New York, N.Y: Avon Books.
    Popkin, B. M. (2006). Global nutrition dynamics: The world is shifting rapidly toward a diet linked with noncommunicable diseases. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 84(2), 289-298.
    Popkin, B. M., & Gordon-Larsen, P. (2004). The nutrition transition: Worldwide obesity dynamics and their determinants.International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders : Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 28 Suppl 3(S3), S2-S9. doi:10.1038/sj.ijo.0802804
    Ritzer, G. (2004). The McDonaldization of society. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Pine Forge Press.
    Thompson, S., Macdonald, A., & Moullakis, J. (2013, February 14). Inghams asks if $1bn ASX float will fly. Australian Financial Review. Retrieved from
    World Health Organisation. (2011) Global atlas on cardiovascular disease prevention and control. policies, strategies and intervention. Retrieved from world health organisation website
    Willett, W. C. (2012). Dietary fats and coronary heart disease. Journal of Internal Medicine, 272(1), 13-24. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2796.2012.02553.x

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