Être un ovin malade en Bas-Berry (fin XVIIIe – milieu XXe siècle)

Nicolas BARON

fr Anthropozoologica 50 (2) - Pages 87-97

Published on 31 December 2015

Being a sick ovine in Bas-Berry (end of the XVIIIth – mid XXth centuries)

The purpose of this article is to make use of the “ animal viewpoint ”, which has been adopted by a growing number of researchers, to reconstruct the experience of Indre sheep affected by the disease from the late eighteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. To this end, we rely on local archives and reinterpret them in the light of writings by veterinarians, animal scientists and ethologists. Sheep, which made up a very large livestock and played a key role in the Bas-Berry’s economy, were for a long time victims of serious diseases. The gradual and uneven improvement in their health status over one and a half centuries owes much more to the progress of rearing conditions and prophylaxis than to treatments, which were still in a budding stage and depended to a large extent on sheep farmers’ financial resources. In the final analysis, the study of sick animals provides us with vital insights into the understanding of the animal condition in the past.

The Scientific Board of Anthropozoologica specifies that the “animal” position stated by the author in the introduction of his article only commits himself. The Scientific Board actually considers: 1) that it is, in total scientific rigor, impossible to understand the “animal point of view”; and 2) that the content of this article fortunately does not owe anything to the adoption of such a point of view.

Keywords :

Animal viewpoint, ovine, Berry, breeding, sheepfold, animal diseases, veterinary

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