Dead Epidemiologists: On the Origins of COVID-19
260pp, $17 pbk, ISBN 978-1-58367-902-9
Big Farms Make Big Flu: Dispatches on Infectious Disease, Agribusiness, and the Nature of Science
400 pp, $24 pbk, ISBN 9781583675892
Rob Wallace‘s timely new book Dead Epidemiologists: On the Origins of COVID-19, and his preceding work on the same general topic, Big Farms Make Big Flu: Dispatches on Infectious Disease, Agribusiness, and the Nature of Science, have officially circumambulated the globe, from Canada and India, to Greece and Italy, to Basque country and onward.
Let’s start in English, with a conversation between Rob Wallace and Firoze Manji, of the Canadian publication Daraja Press:
A global view, from India
For some unusually rich perspective on his work, you can head to India Forum, where Dead Epidemiologists is reviewed by Satyaki Roy:
“….with the rising food prices caused by rising energy cost and declining sustainability, industrial agriculture, driven by the corporate food regime, seems to have lost its steam. There is a crisis of declining bio-physical productivity, soil depletion, and reduction in efficiency of nitrogen use. Global capital, in search of cheap sources of land, water, and labour, has focused on the global South, and integrated huge tracts of land and livestock into global agricultural value chains. At the same time it has created financial assets linked to corporate production of food and fuel for speculative gains.
The resurgence of plantations in southeast Asia and Latin America has razed roughly 40% of tropical forests located in seven countries of these two regions during just the first decade of 21st century (Malm, 2020). Soybean, corn, palm oil, ethanol, and cattle rearing for large scale production of beef has encroached tropical forests and destroyed biodiversity. An average plantation of palm oil in Indonesia covers 3,000 hectares of land and a typical cattle ranch in Brazil dedicated for the production of beef covers 1,000 hectares. Large corporate cross-country alliances around production of soybean, rapeseed, ethanol operate in the US, China, South Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, India, and Mozambique. In developing countries, 227 million hectares of land, an area equal to the size of Western Europe, has been leased out or sold since 2001…”
Read the full, in-depth review, at India Forum
A rich review from the Greek publication, Commune:
The review concludes: “Criticism of the productive model of the agri-food industry, producer communities, the mobilization and re-emergence of invisible food workers highlight an ecological, communitarian alternative. A production with strong locality and connected to communities, utilizing the natural potential of soil, water, biodiversity and human knowledge that celebrates the reproduction of human life and not production exists today and shows that a ‘different food world is possible.’ A world that will not favor the evolution of deadly viruses like COVID-19 and a productive model that will protect the environment along with human societies.”
“Η κριτική στο παραγωγικό μοντέλο της αγροτοδιατροφικής βιομηχανίας, οι κοινότητες παραγωγών, η κινητοποίηση και η επανεμφάνιση των αόρατων εργατών παραγωγής τροφής αναδεικνύουν μια οικολογική, κοινοτιστική εναλλακτική. Μια παραγωγή με έντονη τοπικότητα και δεμένη με τις κοινότητες, αξιοποιώντας τις φυσικές δυνατότητες του εδάφους, του νερού, της βιοποικιλότητας και της ανθρώπινης γνώσης που γιορτάζει την αναπαραγωγή της ανθρώπινης ζωής και όχι τον παραγωγισμό υπάρχει σήμερα και δείχνει ότι ένας «άλλος διατροφικός κόσμος είναι εφικτός». Ένας κόσμος που δε θα ευνοεί την εξέλιξη θανατηφόρων ιών σαν τον COVID-19 και ένα παραγωγικό μοντέλο που θα προστατεύει το περιβάλλον μαζί με τις ανθρώπινες κοινωνίες.”
Head to the Greek publication Commune to read the rest.
New Spanish translations
Wallace’s work is also garnering the attention of Spanish audiences, following the recent translation of his prior work Big Farms Make Big Flu, also published by Monthly Review Press. The Basque publication txalaparta.eus recently featured Big Farms Make Big Flu, as did Productor de Sustenibilidad:
“While viruses are capable of adapting to the rhythms of industrial production, animals selected for characteristics that are of interest to the market lose the option of creating resistance to new virus varieties or of transferring genetic adaptations to subsequent generations.”
“Mientras que los virus son capaces de adaptarse a los ritmos de la producción industrial, los animales seleccionados por características que interesan al mercado pierden la opción de crear resistencia a las nuevas variedades de virus o de trasladar adaptaciones genéticas a las siguientes generaciones.”
And in Italian…
Rob Wallace was also interviewed for “Rai Play,” in an episode introduced thus:
“Si è da poco conclusa a Wuhan, in Cina, l’inchiesta del team scientifico internazionale nominato dall’Organizzazione Mondiale della Sanità sulle origini della pandemia. Ma alla fine dell’indagine svolta da scienziati di tutto il mondo, il direttore generale dell’Oms Tedros Ghebreyesus ha dichiarato che sull’origine del virus “le piste sono ancora tutte aperte”. Più di un anno di attesa e mesi di preparazione, ma le risposte sulla più grande catastrofe sanitaria del secolo ancora non ci sono. PresaDiretta è riuscita a intervistare uno dei membri del team internazionale, Dominic Dwyer, microbiologo dell’Università di Sidney e a ricostruire con testimonianze esclusive e documenti inediti cosa è successo durante i 27 giorni della missione in Cina dell’Oms. E poi un viaggio in giro per l’Europa per raccontare le altre epidemie diffuse tra gli animali, di cui si parla poco ma che sono sempre più aggressive e pericolose anche per l’uomo.”
Head to Rai Play to watch in Italian