“Risky Zoographies: The Limits of Place in Avian Flu Management”

Porter, Natalie | from Multimedia Library Collection:

Porter, Natalie. “Risky Zoographies: The Limits of Place in Avian Flu Management.” Environmental Humanities, vol. 1 (November 2012): 103–21.

Global anxieties about avian influenza stem from a growing recognition that highly-virulent, highly-mobile disease vectors infiltrate human spaces in ways that are difficult to perceive, and even more difficult to manage. The article analyses a participatory health intervention in Việt Nam to explore how avian influenza threats challenge long-held understandings of animals’ place in the environment and society. In this intervention, poultry farmers collaborated with health workers to illustrate maps of avian flu risks in their communities. The divergent risk maps emerging demonstrate how ecological factors, interpersonal networks, and global market dynamics combine to engender a variety of interspecies relationships, which in turn shape the location of disease risks in space. The term risky zoographies is developed to signal the emergence of competing descriptions of animals and their habitats in zoonotic disease contexts. This concept suggests that as wild animals, livestock products, and microbial pathogens continue to globalise, place-based health interventions that limit animals to particular locales are proving inadequate. Risky zoographies signal the inextricability of nonhuman animals from human spaces, and reveal interspecies interactions that transect and transcend environments. (Adapted from the author’s abstract.)

© Natalie Porter 2012. Environmental Humanities is available online only and is published under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).