Accepted Paper:

A better breed of bee  


Melanie Long (Trinity St David.)

Paper short abstract:

Sudden eradication of most of Britain’s indigenous honey bees, due to beekeepers importing disease and parasites on ‘foreign’ bees, has left today’s beekeepers trying to redress this damage by pursuing the true ‘British Black Bee’ and eradicating all other ‘foreigners’.

Paper long abstract:

As Western preoccupation with environmental concerns become more enthusiastically and politically pursued, the 'post-colonialist' emerges and the need to 'nurture' and 'control' becomes the focus for the 'protecting' of 'original' species and 'natural' environments.

Recently British beekeepers have found their occupation fraught with uncertainty as indigenous honey bees are presented with a multitude of threats (caused primarily by humans and specifically beekeepers) to the survival of the bees within their care. They initially appear to have responded to this with some degree of panic, often exacerbated by extraneous focus upon a myriad of other possible dangers and have attempted to resolve all problems using a collection of random techniques, medications and tools, culminating in a coping strategy which flits between a fervent pursuit of scientific intervention and resignation as to 'what will 'bee', will be'. However as time has passed, and science has shown itself to be as much a problem, as a cure, the focus has shifted towards 'eradication' of the 'yellow' bee, the 'foreigner', and towards the exclusive 'breeding' of the indigenous 'British Black Bee' (referred to by Welsh informants as the 'Welsh' Black Bee). She may be more aggressive and produce less honey, but the previous opinion of production and easiness for the beekeeper being of primary importance, is beginning to give way to a combination of nationalistic pride and renewed hope which is embodied in the feisty, survivor who has been attributed with the power to overcome the obstacles which have been put before her.

Panel P26
Humans and non-human animals: different moral worlds?