Anthropology and Environment Society
Oral Presentation Session
The so-called African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV), formerly considered to be eradicated in Europe except the Iberian Peninsula, recently made a return to the continent. Since 2007 ASFV has spread throughout Europe with serious consequences for both wild life and domesticated pigs - as well as the EU pork industry. This paper tells the story of ASFV’s recent appearance in Europe. It traces the ways in which this virus has co-evolved with and hitched a ride on wild life, on global pork commodity chains and their infrastructures. ASFV has followed the heels of colonial trajectories to East Africa, and finally travelled back to Europe – and went feral in the process. Tracking ASFV’s travels reveals the multispecies patchy relations that have formed around the formal and informal trade of pigs, dead and alive, and the infrastructures of production, distribution, consumption, and waste disposal connected to them. But even more so, it opens up the view onto the complex ecologies that emerge in the cracks and gaps of industrial meat production, agriculture, urbanization and climate change – ecologies that incite desires to fortify national borders while interfering with capital’s trajectories.