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'Few Commodities are More Hazardous': Australian Live Animal Export, 1788-1880

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Live animal export has a long history but it is rarely considered in the vigorous contemporary debates surrounding the practice. This article explores the origins, extent and nature of the trade in livestock, primarily sheep and cattle, conducted out of Britain's first Australian colony, New South Wales, between 1788 and 1880. Drawing upon contemporary accounts and official statistics related to the trade, it contributes to the literature on human-animal relations by exploring the experience of animals during live export and the effect of the trade on attitudes to meat consumption. By subjecting animals to long sea voyages for the purposes of breeding or consumption, live export in the colonial period laid the groundwork for the commodification of animals used for food and the industrialisation of meat production in the twentieth century.
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Keywords: Australia; Live animal export; New Zealand; animal welfare; meat

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2018

This article was made available online on January 4, 2018 as a Fast Track article with title: "‘Few Commodities are More Hazardous’: Australian Live Animal Export, 1788–1880".

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  • Environment and History is an interdisciplinary journal which aims to bring scholars in the humanities and biological sciences closer together, with the deliberate intention of constructing long and well-founded perspectives on present day environmental problems.

    Environment and History has a Journal Impact Factor (2018) of 0.800. 5 Year Impact Factor: 0.918.
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