The care and upkeep of animals raised for human consumption has devolved into an industrial operation focused on maximizing economic return while paying little or no heed to the needs of the "stock." Discussions of the nature of factory farming inevitably include issues of ethical treatment of nonhuman animals and often segue into apologies for or against "animal rights." This article takes a different tack, asking instead how and why the factory-farm industry could grow ascendant in an era when the notion of the human-animal divide has become increasingly blurred.

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