Kill and Chill

Kill and Chill

Restructuring Canada's Beef Commodity Chain

Book - 2001
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Both horrified and fascinated by a visit with his geography students to the Canada Packers Lethbridge plant, Ian MacLachlan searched for a book that would explain the main features of the Canadian meat packing industry. Finding very little available, he set about writing an account of the industry that is both an economic geography and economic history.

Comprehensive in its treatment of the whole system surrounding the Canadian beef industry, Kill and Chill offers a history of the structural changes in Canada's cattle and beef commodity chain, beginning with calf production and cattle feeding on farms and feedlots. It goes on to describe the changes in cattle marketing, the historical development of meatpacking-in particular the emergence of Canada's 'Big Three' meatpacking firms-and the rise of meatpacking unionism. Carrying the story almost to the present with the takeover of Maple Leaf by the McCain family in the mid-1990s, the work concludes with a discussion of current trends in retail beef marketing.

Publisher: Toronto : University of Toronto Press, 2001.
ISBN: 9780802078322
Branch Call Number: 338. 176213 MACL
Characteristics: xiv, 378 p., [18] p. of plates : ill., maps


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May 18, 2012

An excellent, academic book about cattle and beef production in Canada. Procedures are different in eastern and western provinces (e.g. albertans tend to castrate using jacknkives; out east, they prefer clamping to cut the cords; some apply elastics to newborn calves to cut off blood supply). Consumer choices at the checkout influences how the industry operates whether or not it is rational or unpredictable. Consumers are manipulated to buy more meat by labeling meat in more 'succulent' terms, emphasizing cost per serving rather than cost per kilo, etc. A great section on how meat is graded in Canada, in case you ever wondered about the criteria. Treatment and demographics of the slaughterhouse workers. Consumption pattern/trends and graphs, including historical information. One interesting message was that what happens in the US ag policy usually trickles up to Canada.

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