Imaging Animal Industry focuses on the visual culture of the American meat industry between 1890 and 1960. It describes how, during that period, photographs and other images helped to shape public perceptions of industrial-scale meat production. Although the meat industry today bans most photography at its facilities, in the past this was not always the case: the meat industry not only tolerated but welcomed cameras. Meatpacking companies and industry organizations regarded photographs as useful tools for creating and managing a vision of their activities, their innovations, and their contributions to the march of American economic and industrial progress.
Drawing on archival collections across the American Midwest, this book relates a history of the meatpacking industry’s use of images in the early to mid-twentieth century. In the process, it reveals the key role that images, particularly photographs, have played in assisting with the rise of industrial meat production.