Big Meat: The rise and impact of mega-farming in China’s beef, sheep and dairy industrie

DuBois, Thomas David and Alisha Gao. Big Meat : the rise and impact of mega-farming in China’s beef, sheep and dairy industries. The Asia-Pacific Journal : Japan Focus, 2017, vol. 15, n° 17-1, 20 p. URL : (consulté le 30 octobre 2017)


The incredible growth of China’s cattle, sheep and dairy production is a visible phenomenon of the past twenty years, but its foundations were laid  decades earlier. Seeking to industrialize its hinterland, and exploit its vast wealth of grazing livestock, China created slaughtering and processing facilities across its northern grasslands during the 1950s. Since the 1980s, much of this infrastructure has been privatized by companies which, like their predecessors, seek efficiency through economies of scale. Brutal competition over price and constant arrival of new domestic and foreign players have encouraged the integration of processing chains, but also sidelined small operators, and created gaps in safety best epitomized by the 2008 tainted milk scandal. Despite steps taken to “green” the production chain, it remains to be seen if such gaps have been adequately filled.

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Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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