Institutt for sosialantropologi

Locating animals and their diseases

The Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen is happy to announce the upcoming seminar with Professor Sarah Green (University of Helsinki).


Locating animals and their diseases:

a short history of animal borders, quarantine and surveillance in Europe

Animals don’t have the same borders as people do. Sometimes, the physical crossing points are in the same general locations, but the process of getting across them is not at all the same: the paperwork, the physical inspections, the forms of transportation, even the officials who deal with animals are not the same as they are with people. Europe has a long list of BIPs - Border Inspection Posts controlling the movement of animals and animal products between the EU and third countries. The BIPs, as well as veterinary practices in general, have to comply with an electronic surveillance system called TRACES (TRAde Control and Expert System). That is just a small part of the enormous architecture and infrastructure that deals with the movement and surveillance of animals across space. Part of the reason for all this management is to monitor and control the spread of disease (not only because 60% of human diseases are zoonotic; but also because of the economic interests involved in livestock). The paper will explore the implications of this alternative structure of borders, movement and location for current understandings of ‘border work’ in the European region, with a particular focus on the Balkans and the Mediterranean regions