Contesting urban agriculture: the politics of meat production in the License-Buy-Back Scheme (2006-2007) in Hong Kong
Date: 11 May 2015
Rarely do people associate pig farming with the cityscape of Hong Kong. Hong Kong, however, has a long history of agricultural development since the British ruled the area after the First Opium War in 1842. Controlling the food supply was a crucial political maneuver for the British government to safeguard the colony's stability and ...
Rarely do people associate pig farming with the cityscape of Hong Kong. Hong Kong, however, has a long history of agricultural development since the British ruled the area after the First Opium War in 1842. Controlling the food supply was a crucial political maneuver for the British government to safeguard the colony's stability and security. During the British rule, farming subsidies, technological extension services, and animal donations became the governing tactics to boost the production of vegetables, fisheries, and pigs (Chan, 2011). In 1978, China implemented an open-door policy and negotiated with the British government to export fresh food to Hong Kong. Since then, Hong Kong has depended heavily on Chinese imports of fresh vegetables, fish, and pork. This led to a dramatic decline in local food production. Recently, the desire to consume local products has increased because the public is concerned about food safety issues in China, ranging from milk powder contaminated with melamine, to recycled oil, and toxic chemical usage in the food production system. The rise and decline of agricultural activities in Hong Kong provides an opportunity to evaluate the conflicts over urban agriculture in specific time and space. There is a paucity of studies to examine why a higher value is assigned to certain forms of urban agriculture over others.1 For instance, urban vegetable farming presents a more positive aesthetic image; urban pig farming differs from other types of agriculture because of associated sanitary risks, the need for manure management, and odor issues. This study employs a political ecology perspective informed by animal geographies to examine how the meat politics in the License-Buy-Back Scheme (LBBS) has become a tactic to reduce and control the pig farming industry in Hong Kong.
College of Life and Environmental Sciences
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