Inderscience Publishers

US feedlots and slaughterhouses: bounding industrial ecology with the extreme case

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The potential contribution of Industrial Ecology (IE) to sustainable development, though immense, remains elusive. This is due to the field boundaries whose demarcation lacks specificity. To address the challenge of boundary definition, an agro-industrial complex, the US Cattle Feedlot-Slaughterhouse System (CFSS), has been chosen to illustrate and provoke a discussion about where those boundaries should be set. The selection of the CFSS, a system opposed to the practices usually associated with IE, is justified in the light of the extreme events research methodology. On this basis, the author highlights the many agro-industrial flows among the main CFSS components and then analyses them in terms of their appropriateness for specifying the boundaries of IE.

Keywords: industrial ecology, industrial symbiosis, confined feeding operations, animal feeding operations, Ogallalah Aquifer, sustainable development, sustainability, extreme events, research methodology, feed lots, slaughterhouses, USA, United States, agro-industrial flows

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