There’s a lesson to be learnt from the plague of rabbits that were abandoned foods engineered for mass production. Most European countries used to eat rabbits. They were convenient sources of protein on long ship journeys. Low maintenance and fast reproduction made them the perfect food-on-the-go. Sometime during reign of the rabbit cuisine, the population expanded, increasing the demand for rabbit meat production. People sourced and selected for the fastest breeding rabbits until the animals became optimised meat-producing machines on legs, and then stopped eating them.

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If we’re looking at history, we’ll know that farming is an indication that a particular food supply is lacking behind. Farming is a rounded, blurry word for ‘specialist intensive breeding for food’. After the War British rabbit-eating fell out of fashion and the rabbits began to multiply without control. What’s the equivalent nowadays?  What would it be for there to be self-replicating food without enough consumers?

 

What if we stopped using pigs? Would pigs rule the lands?

This is no speculative scenario. It is said that a domestic pig will take about 3 generations to become similar to a feral hog. In the past years, the ‘wild boar invasion’ has become a regular feature on  German newspapers. In Berlin, hunters are being paid to kill animals much to the distress of urbanites that rarely come into contact with the killing of animals. Suddenly, the animal lovers are becoming enemy of the state and the hunters the city’s heroes through pest control.

 

 

On this Darwin’s Day I thought I’d contribute to my understanding of the Phylum feast, an annual celebratory dinner where the items on the menu are as biologically diverse (preferably from as many phyla as possible). My trials and errors in making rabbits replace the common chick in meals has a long way to go (as seen above) but it’s a small statement in the radical menu from: Eating Aliens: One Man’s Adventures Hunting Invasive Animal Species. The appreciation for natural sciences, nature, the environment… is surely an appreciation of broadening our current thinking and challenging the status quo for our food supply systems and relationships with other living organisms?

What if… We chose to eat foods in a way that encourage biodiversity?

A lot of the traditionally praised foods, such as carps, bullfrogs, crayfish, rabbits, pigeon and jellyfish are the exact invasive species we spend million to combat in Biolabs. Why don’t we just eat them? Before we were activists by refusing food groups (as in the uber-trendy rise of pescetarians, vegans, Semi-vegetarians, lacto-ovo vegetarians, Fruitarians) but I assure you that we can make much more effective statements by choosing to eating.

What if… Activism was performed by eating to control populations as opposed quietly abstaining?

This is also a question about respecting the divergent lifestyles of city-dwellers, which is exactly what makes a city, a city. Currently animal feeders are fined for maintaining a ritual that they have invested in for decades. The current direction dictates that we should distance our interactions with urban animals and leave all responsibility to authorities.

What if… There was a system that accepts the roles of feeders by using their products in our cities?

 

Written by Lisa Ma

Lisa Ma socializes activism. Combining ethnographic research and speculative design, Lisa creates platforms of engagement from surprising insights and processes that deeply resonate with the global technological community. The emergence of clicktivism – to protest at the click of a mouse – is trivializing activism. Lisa argues that although activism doesn’t necessarily benefit from technology, we need to evolve how activism contributes to technological societies. To illustrate this, she designs dilemmas and creates social events that are perceived as activism but function as services.

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