In an era of climate catastrophe and corporate agribusiness, meat has been decisively made over. Urbanites across the West are called upon to look at the animals we eat, and by looking, learn to treat them with love. We are asked to tenderise our carnal desire for flesh and dignify our relationship with the land. Yet can our appetite for meat be redeemed by this new way of seeing? Can an ‘ethical’ approach to the farming, sale, and consumption of meat really save both the planet and our souls?
In Meat Love, Amber Husain deconstructs the beauty, tragedy, and mystery with which our images of meat are embellished, drawing on a range of visual sources from contemporary art and film to Instagram and advertising. Probing the nature of ‘love’ in contemporary human-animal relations, this illustrated essay casts a materialist’s critical eye on the visual culture of meat as it gentrifies and mutates, informing, for better or for worse, our political imaginations.