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Darst, R. G., & Dawson, J. I. (2019). Exit, voice, and denial: Confronting the factory farm in the United States. Society & Animals, 27(1), 36-54.

 

Despite opposition from social movements, the animal agriculture industry has largely succeeded in averting serious challenges to its basic business practices. This outcome reflects not only the industry’s political and economic clout, but also divisions among the industry’s opponents and the difficulties that their proposed solutions pose for consumers. Albert Hirschman argues that those dissatisfied with a product or organization have three options: exit, voice, and loyalty. We argue that “voice,” the public expression of protest, has been fractured by disagreement over ultimate goals and the proper form of “exit”: substitution or abstention. Both forms of exit are difficult for the consumer. The default response is therefore “loyalty”: continued consumption. This loyalty is based not on ignorance or acceptance of the industry’s shortcomings, but on socially organized denial of the evidence and its implications. Our methodology is a “qualitative metasynthesis” of previous scholarly analyses of the primary social movements involved.

Despite opposition from social movements, the animal agriculture industry has largely succeeded in averting serious challenges to its basic business practices. This outcome reflects not only the industry’s political and economic clout, but also divisions among the industry’s opponents and the difficulties that their proposed solutions pose for consumers. Albert Hirschman argues that those dissatisfied with a product or organization have three options: exit, voice, and loyalty. We argue that “voice,” the public expression of protest, has been fractured by disagreement over ultimate goals and the proper form of “exit”: substitution or abstention. Both forms of exit are difficult for the consumer. The default response is therefore “loyalty”: continued consumption. This loyalty is based not on ignorance or acceptance of the industry’s shortcomings, but on socially organized denial of the evidence and its implications. Our methodology is a “qualitative metasynthesis” of previous scholarly analyses of the primary social movements involved.

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