Management of crisis: responding to foot-and-mouth disease in Bulgaria in 2011
(Institute for Ethnology and Folklore Studies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia)
Paper short abstract:
This paper investigates the sudden outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in South-East Bulgaria (area of Strandja Mountain) starting in late 2010 and early months of 2011, and the different ways the local population and officials coped with the outbreak.
Paper long abstract:
This paper investigates the outbreak of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in the area of Strandja Mountain, SE Bulgaria in early 2011. Bulgarian local authorities, following the central administration, have implemented the measures provided for in the EU Council Directive 2003/85 of September 29th 2003 on community measures for the control of the disease. According to EU legislation, animals susceptible to the outbreak and any species they came into contact with were to be culled and buried, even though most of them were completely healthy according to the understanding of the breeders. Since then, a process of slaughtering domestic animals was carried out according to the regulations, but it was emotionally painful for the villagers, creating long-lasting consequences. During expanded field work in three villages of Strandja, which were differently impacted by the disease (based upon the center-periphery theory), observations were made on the villagers' reaction to these extreme measures. By presenting and researching the disaster in its local specificities the paper reveals how daily lives intersect with dramatic events, and how collective interests can cause deep individual trauma. The prevailing perception of the people concerned is that slaughter was supported by a minority of official representatives, who sought to advance rather the "interests of the particular political moment" (country's accession into EU short before), different from those of the population affected.
Towards an anthropology of sustainability?