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Edition #13
Rio de Janeiro, 2010

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“DKANDLE weaves swirling multi-colored vibrant unearthly soundscapes, blending fuzzy and reverberating Shoegaze textures, mesmerizing Dream Pop meditations, sludgy Grungey tones and moody Post-punk strains, heightened with soul-stirring lyricism and pensive emotive vocalizations”

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Raul Branco
(originally published in
Oxigenio Newspaper of  May 2009)

TAGS : activism, politics, videos

Certainly not by coincidence, many of the severe epidemics that have infected humanity in recent years have been of animal origin. The "mad cow disease" (BSE), invariably fatal and capable of transmitting to humans, infected more than 51% of dairy farms in Great Britain by June 1994. Avian flu threatens to return with a potential comparable to the Spanish flu (a pneumonic flu that killed 50 million people in 1918/1919) - if the virus ever mutates to allow human-to-human transmission. And now, this swine flu - "a genetic chimera likely conceived in the fecal mud of an industrial breeding facility" (Mike Davis) - threatens the world with an as yet unknown magnitude.

In all these cases, and in many others, we can observe the unnatural life to which birds and animals have been subjected, treated as raw material in an industrialization process.

Below we reproduce part of Mike Davis's article, published under the above title in The Guardian:

"In 1965, there were 53 million pigs in the United States spread among more than a million farms. Today, 65 million pigs are concentrated in 65,000 facilities. This meant moving from old-fashioned pigsties to gigantic fecal hells where, amidst manure and under suffocating heat, ready to exchange pathogens at lightning speed, tens of thousands of animals with very weakened immune systems are piled up."

Last year, a commission convened by the Pew Research Center published a report on "industrial farm animal production," highlighting the acute danger that "the continuous circulation of viruses (...), characteristic of huge poultry farms or herds, increased the opportunities for the emergence of new viruses more efficient in human transmission." The commission also warned that the promiscuous use of antibiotics in pig farming - cheaper than in human environments - was leading to the emergence of resistant staphylococcal infections, while the waste from these farms generated strains of Escherichia coli and Pfiesteria (the protozoan that killed a billion fish in the North Carolina estuaries and contaminated dozens of fishermen).

THE MONSTROUS POWER OF MONOPOLIES

Any improvement in the ecology of this new pathogen would have to confront the monstrous power of the large corporate poultry and livestock conglomerates, such as Smithfield Farms (pork and cattle) and Tyson (chickens). The commission spoke of systematic obstruction of their investigations by the big companies, including some not-so-subtle threats to cut funding for researchers who cooperated with the investigation.

This is a highly globalized industry with political influence. Just as the poultry giant Charoen Pokphand, based in Bangkok, was able to thwart investigations into its role in the spread of avian flu in Southeast Asia, it is most likely that the forensic epidemiology of the swine flu virus will hit the solid wall of the pork industry (there is already a rumor in the Mexican press of an epicenter of the flu situated around a gigantic Smithfield subsidiary in the state of Veracruz).

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