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From behind stall doors

Farming the Eastern German countryside in the animal welfare era

Amy Leigh Field

Animal husbandry, a major part of the contemporary German economy, is the subject of politically and morally charged discourses about the effects of the industry on the nation’s landscape and its role in economic globalization. German politicians and activists oft en discuss industrialized animal husbandry practices as abusive and polluting. This article analyzes how these debates are imbricated in forms of concern about nonhuman animals that tend to be differentiated geographically by urban-rural boundaries. I argue the privileging of animals as moral entities causes interpersonal friction between those who rely on animals for a living and those who do not, and expresses fundamental tensions about the rural landscape as a space of industrialized agricultural production, as opposed to a space dedicated to the conservation of the natural environment.