Title

From Globalized Pig Breeds To Capitalist Pigs: A Study In Animal Cultures And Evolutionary History

Abstract

This article examines the history of how Chinese pig breeds came to Europe and later America. While Asian hogs were domesticated for feeding on waste and agricultural by-products, ancient European hogs had to range in forests for mast, producing a leaner, more wild type. As European forests were cleared, mast feeding came under recurring pressure, creating incentives for improved swine management and breeding. In the eighteenth century, as Northern European agriculture intensified, Chinese pigs were imported to create improved varieties first in England and then in America. These new breeds, with their enhanced capacity for rapid weight gain, played a vital role in the pig's transformation from a small-farm subsistence animal into an industrial meat producer. The article analyzes this history of pig breeds as a microcosm of early modern globalization and the emergence of industrial capitalism, as well as a case study of how interdisciplinary evidence and evolutionary perspectives can contribute to the emerging field of animal studies.

Publisher

Oxford University Press

Publication Date

1-1-2011

Publication Title

Environmental History

Department

History

Document Type

Article

DOI

10.1093/envhis/emq143

Language

English

Format

text

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