Parallel lines: managing the movement of animals and zoonotic diseases across the Mediterranean

Special Seminar Trinity 2018

Friday, Week 5, 1-2.30pm, Pitt Rivers Museum Lecture Theatre (off Robinson Close)

Attempts to control the movement of living entities across space is not restricted to control over human mobilities: for centuries, there have been a range of attempts to control the movement of animals and the spread of their diseases, as well. These attempts have often been met with limited success (which could also be said of attempts to control the movement of people), but that does not stop the growth of highly complex legal, bureaucratic and technical regimes designed to manage the movement of non-human animals and the spread of their diseases. The paper will outline the basic structure of such regimes for the Mediterranean region, that place which is currently the focus of intense attention because of the spontaneous migration of people across that sea. The paper argues that animal border regimes work according to a distinctly different logic from those governing the movement of people. In particular, arrangements for the movement of animals across borders has always strongly and explicitly involved cross-border collaborations - and importantly, mutual agreements about the logic involved: the veterinary science, the trade interests, the political interests. And secondly, animal border regimes are currently predominantly governed by surveillance systems. The combination of these characteristics allows an exploration of the work that border regimes do which concern different ways of creating relations and separations between places than those being focused upon involving asylum seekers and other forms of human cross-order movements. Taking this sideways look at a parallel border regime may help to make certain distinctive, but implicit, elements of the human border regime more explicit.