Monthly Archives: March 2012

Nanoq: flat out and bluesome, 2002-2004, by Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson.

I really like this project by Snæbjörnsdóttir and Wilson. The beautiful and strange photographs of taxidermied bears amongst random artifacts or artificial settings evoke various feelings, and question man’s show of power through trophy hunting. Instead of reminding us of vast and wild nature, these beautiful large creatures, put out of context, are somehow both incomprehensible and pitiful-looking.

To read more about this work visit their website.

Joseph Beuys’ performance Coyote: I like America and America likes me, 1974. Photo by Caroline Tisdall. In this performance Beuys spent 3 days and 3 nights in a cage with a wild coyote at the René Block’s New York Gallery.

“He had only a shepherd’s staff and a blanket of felt for protection.  Over the course of their cohabitation, Beuys is able to tame the wild coyote, and at one point the coyote actually lays harmlessly upon his lap.  In this remarkable piece the wound is recognized and healed.  As one commentator puts it, this encounter becomes a ‘reconciliation between the New World and the Old World, fraternization between different races, animal and man, nature and culture.'” (quote from transposition.)

Back to the subject of farming models. Vietnam is shifting towards changes that are very similar to those in the Philippines from the 70s, and surrounding countries such as China, Thailand, India, Taiwan.

This article on details the shift in the Philippines and environmental consequences. It points out that farming policies in Western Europe have become increasingly strick, resulting in a number of companies moving their meat production to other countries where there is little or very loose regulations. The article mostly focuses on the environmental consequences of industrial farms, but also touched upon the susceptibility to zoonotic disease due to the increasing movement between farms.

In Vietnam people used to bring living livestock to the market to slaughter and sell. After the outbreak in 2005 the government banned this practice, but in fact in the countryside this is still very common. Most families would buy live chicken and slaughter them in their own backyards.

On the Journey for Animal Science, there is another detailed essay on the economic importance of livestock keeping for small households, and the risk of zoonotic and food-borne disease.

According to online news sources each year 100-200 people die from food poisoning. That’s 4 times more each year than the worse of H1N1 death toll during the breakout in 2005. In Vietnam, it’s not just in farming practice, but in everything else that quality and safety control often fails. In simplistic terms, the question lies not just in what farming model to employ but rather how to improve the overall facility and health standards for both human and animal, and to have some form of quality control from livestock to meat produce.

Evolution of Flu Viruses, 1918-2009

Genetic relationships among human and swine influenza viruses, 1918-2009. Red arrows indicate human influenza virus lineages, black arrows swine influenza virus lineages, and gray arrows exportation of one or more genes from the avian influenza A virus gene pool. Horizontal bars shown inside the virus represent each of the eight virus genes, abbreviated PB2, PB1, PA, HA, NP, NA, M and NS. Credit: NIAID

Read more about the origin of swine flu here.