, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 739-741

Paul B. Thompson, The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics

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The arrival of my review copy of The Agrarian Vision coincided, within a day or two, with the first news reports of an E. coli outbreak and a massive recall of beef processed at one of Canada’s largest slaughter-houses. The recall eventually reached as far as Hong Kong. While politicians, burgers in hand, did their best to reassure consumers and border authorities, in support of a precarious beef “industry,” and while most media coverage focused on the adequacy of inspection protocols, plant practices, and corporate apologies, the deeper food security issue exposed by the crisis escaped serious public consideration once again. This was no real surprise. North Americans’ dependence on a highly-concentrated, long-distance food system—in which two companies, for example, account for 90 per cent of the beef slaughter in Canada, mostly at two plants—is now mostly taken for granted. It represents competitiveness, jobs and export markets, not vulnerabilities. Or it is proof of our advanced ci