Corona in mink farms: “Fur industry endangers people”

Activists point to the risk of infection from mink. This could make vaccine development more difficult for the fur industry.

Mink on a breeding farm Photo: Reuters

BERLIN/AMSTERDAM taz | According to animal rights activists, the corona outbreak in Danish mink farms shows that the fur industry is endangering human lives. In an interview with the taz on Monday, the organization Peta pointed out that a mutation of the coronavirus had spread to people in the stables and may affect the effectiveness of future vaccines. “Whoever wears fur digs a grave for his fellow human beings and himself,” said the organization’s textile expert, Johanna Fuoss.

In Denmark, all 17 million minks are currently being killed to contain the mutated virus. However, at least 12 people have already been infected with the corona variant. As a result, far-reaching restrictions on public life have been in effect in seven North Jutland municipalities since Monday: Among other things, local public transport has been largely stopped there.

“It has long been scientifically proven that mutations of such pathogens occur again and again on these farms, where many animals live together in a small space,” added Peta activist Fuoss. Raccoon dogs, for example, are suspected of having transmitted the Sars virus, which killed hundreds of people from 2002 to 2004. Raccoon dogs are also kept en masse on fur farms, said the animal rights activist. Similar to mink: in narrow individual cages.

In Germany, the last fur farm closed in 2019. The husbandry regulations had previously been tightened. For example, they now require a body of water because in the wild, minks spend a large part of their life in water. These rules made mink farming in Germany unprofitable. “In Denmark, on the other hand, minks are still kept without a water basin,” criticized the animal rights activist.

“Horrible Practice”

“This is a horrific practice and incomprehensible, especially since there are now fake fur that can hardly be distinguished at first glance,” said Fuoss. “None of us need furs.”

The German fur association admits that the virus mutated in farm mink

According to the Peta expert, the fur collars on jackets that are popular in Germany are made almost exclusively of fake fur, “in the middle class”. Very cheap or very expensive goods still have real fur, but then mostly cheaper types such as raccoon dogs and rabbits or more expensive ones such as foxes and minks. Mink fur is mainly used to make fur coats or jacket linings. “A lot goes to Russia. There, mink coats are a status symbol. They have lost a lot of their reputation in Germany, ”says Fuoss.

The German Fur Association did not provide any figures in response to a taz request, but admitted: “According to the Danish authorities, the virus mutated in the farm mink in Denmark, so that it may now be transferable to humans.” However, this view must first be changed by the international Research community will be assessed, wrote spokeswoman Barbara Sixt.

Many farms in Netherlands contaminated

The coronavirus has also been circulating on fur farms in the Netherlands, which is the largest commercial mink breeding site behind Denmark and China. So far there have been infected animals on more than half of all around 100 farms.

Under the direction of virologist Marion Koopmans from Rotterdam’s Erasmus University Hospital, the outbreak was examined in detail on the country’s first 16 mink farms. Accordingly, 66 employees and 11 stray cats had the same corona variant as minks from which it had jumped. The epidemiologist involved, Francisca Velkers, outlines the overall picture in the newspaper Volkskrant so: “A person infects a mink, which in turn infects many other mink – marten-like animals are very susceptible to the virus. The mink then infect other people and stray cats on the farm. “

In the Netherlands, too, huge stocks of mink have been gassed in recent months: a total of around 2.4 million animals.

Marion Koopman, one of the most prominent experts in the field, is concerned: “You have to watch it very closely,” she told TV magazine 1 Vandaag. “The difference is that in the Netherlands we mainly saw people in the companies who were infected. In Denmark it was also people outside of the farms. “

The breeding should actually be completed in 2024. Because of the numerous corona infections, the government in The Hague decided in August that this process must be completed in March 2021. The companies are being bought out for a good one and a half million euros each. Industry associations complain that this price is too low to absorb the affected workers and their families. Animal rights activists see the amount as far too high from an ethical point of view.


Mass slaughter of minks because of corona: mutations are spreading

Denmark kills 17 million minks after a coronavirus mutation spreads to humans. The new variant is already in circulation.

Denmark has 17 million mink slaughtered for fear of a new Corona variant Photo: Ritzau Scanpix / reuters

STOCKHOLM taz | The mass slaughter decided by Copenhagen has started in Danish mink farms. All 17 million minks are to be killed by November 16. Because the capacity of the incinerators is insufficient, pits are being excavated on military sites in which the carcasses are to be buried.

At the same time, there is growing criticism of the government, which last week ordered the killing of the breeding ore population and the imposition of a quarantine on parts of northern Jutland. Is that exaggerated alarmism on a dubious scientific basis? Or, on the contrary, did you wait too long? In any case, the handling of the crisis is a “scandal”, says the daily Politics. “The toughest test to date for the government’s corona strategy” sees The stock exchange.

While the Netherlands immediately killed all infected stocks after the first infections, the authorities in Denmark only acted quickly at the beginning. In June, the first corona-infected mink stocks were immediately slaughtered.

The shift came on July 7th: It was hoped that extensive tests and protective measures would be able to stop further spread. And although the state serum institute reported more farms with infections every day from August, nothing happened for a few weeks. On October 1, the original strategy was reverted and the animals were gassed in all infected herds. Another month later the radical solution: the killing of all minks.

Vaccines may be less effective

“The government always emphasized the principle of caution with Corona, but not with the mink of all places,” says Peder Hvelplund, health policy spokesman for the left-wing “unified list”: Would consideration for economic interests and social democratic regular voters have played a role? Hans Jørn Kolmos, professor of clinical microbiology, also criticizes: You have watched for a surprisingly long time.

The WHO warns that the danger that the “Cluster 5” mutation that has so far been identified in 12 people in Denmark could make future vaccines less effective is largely unexplored and “not yet well understood”. A single mutation is of little importance, “there must be a lot for future vaccines to fail,” says Professor Ali Salanti, member of a team that is currently developing a corona vaccine at the University of Copenhagen.

“Different corona strains can arise,” suspects immunology professor Jan Pravsgaard Christensen. But once approved vaccines can then be adapted accordingly. This already happens with the annual flu vaccinations, and annual vaccinations will also have to be given for Sars-CoV-2.

The decision to slaughter the entire Danish herd makes sense, says immunologist Christensen. The factory farming of mink represents a constant risk of corona infection. Kolmos doubts, however, whether the imposed quarantine can still prevent the spread of “Cluster 5”. The mutation has probably already spread beyond Denmark. The approximately 6,000 employees in the fur farms have not been systematically tested in recent months and have been able to travel unhindered. Around half come from Eastern Europe.

Hans Kluge, WHO European Regional Head, supports Copenhagen’s decision: “It is better to be ‘safe than sorry’.” The Danish demands that animal cruelty associated with such fur farming should now be banned in all European countries for reasons of public health Animal welfare organization Dyrenes Beskyttelse. While Great Britain had already decided on an entry ban for travelers from Denmark on Friday afternoon and tightened it on Sunday, Norway’s health authority announced the examination of a corresponding step.


new demonstration by breeders against the end of fur production

The fate of animals is currently dividing Poland. In mid-September, a bill was adopted by the deputies to prohibit the breeding of fur animals and the export of meat resulting from ritual slaughter. This initiative was led by the Deputy Prime Minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and strong man of the conservative Law and Justice party (PiS), the majority formation of the ruling coalition.

For a month, discontent has been mounting among farmers who have followed demonstrations across the country. On Wednesday, October 7, farmers slowed down traffic on main roads leaving wheelbarrows of manure outside the offices of political leaders in protest. They plan to demonstrate again, Tuesday, October 13, in Warsaw, when the law should go through the Senate which will have to give its approval.

Fear of the loss of thousands of jobs

Poland is the third largest producer of fur in the world – behind China and Denmark – according to NGOs. In this Eastern European country, animal husbandry supports thousands of people – there are an estimated 550 Polish farms that exploit 5.2 million animals for their furs. In addition to breeders, many indirect professions are also threatened by the destruction of this sector. In the first line, people working in cage production or even the tannery.

At the same time, the end of the export of meat resulting from ritual slaughter may also be a blow for some farmers. Indeed, Poland is one of the biggest exporters of kosher halal meats to Israel and the Jewish communities in Europe. Opponents of this law fear the disappearance of thousands of jobs without any alternative. According to the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, the economic impact of the bill would be around 1.6 billion euros.

The conservative coalition revamped

Through this initiative, the president of PiS – known for his sympathy for animals – has drawn the anger of part of the rural world where the conservative political formation draws part of its votes. If this text divided the electorate of the Polish conservative party, it also caused an internal political crisis since Jaroslaw Kaczynski saw his majority fail him on this text during the vote on the lower house of parliament. Fifteen PiS members, including Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski, were suspended from the party for voting against this bill which received unprecedented support from liberals and environmentalists.

→ MAINTENANCE. Animal condition: “A bench is more valuable than a dog or a cat”

Following this political crisis, the ultra-conservative coalition, in power since 2015, was reshuffled at the end of September. The goal? Put an end to the disorder that had settled in this government coalition for a few weeks. This reshuffle aimed to put an end to the pranks of small minority parties such as “Solidarity Poland” and “Alliance” – which moreover opposed their rejection to the proposed law on animal rights – which the PiS needs to keep his majority.


Here is Pistachio: the Labrador puppy born of green color

Considering the color, it couldn’t help but be called Pistachio. We are talking about a Labrador, part of a litter of four, born on Friday in a farm in Palu ‘e Carru (Oschiri), in the province of Sassari. The first to notice the anomaly was Cristian Mallocci, one of the owners of the structure. Incredulous, he immediately sought enlightenment in the partner Giannangelo Liperi: “Have you ever seen an alien dog?”he asked. Negative answer. The two then hypothesized that the mother had given birth on the grass: “But once she took the puppy in her hands – Mallocci told The New Sardinia -, we understand that was the color of his fur, it was really green. We didn’t believe our eyes. We could not understand what had happened and so we tried to read up on the Internet and found that the rare event is quite natural».

In fact, to provide the dog with the singular coloration biliverdin, a harmless bile pigment that can “contaminate” the placenta and be absorbed by one or more of the litter. No health risks, therefore: only a temporary aesthetic oddity. Time a few weeks, e the Pistachio hair will turn beige like that of his little brothers.

Oschiri’s is not the only known case. Last December, for example, a Terni the Golden Retriever Hulk was born. Only two months earlier, however, in Germany a puppy with the same peculiarity had been called Mojito. Similar cases were also recorded in Spain both in 2014 and in 2017. In short, it is a rare but not very rare phenomenon. And that never fails to fascinate and make you smile.

15 October 2020 (change October 15, 2020 | 12:08)



Poland wants to ban the breeding of animals for their fur

Is Poland going to put down its own industry? Third world fur producer behind China and Denmark, according to NGOs, the country could yet adopt a law prohibiting the breeding of animals for this purpose. At the initiative of the ruling Conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS), the Polish lower house on Friday (September 17th) adopted an animal rights law that angered breeders and divided the right-wing coalition.

→ IN FRANCE. Animal cause: entrepreneurs and personalities rally around a referendum

The law, which must also obtain the approval of the Senate, prohibits the breeding of animals for their fur and stops the exports of halal and kosher meat. The country is also a major exporter of kosher meat to Israel and the Jewish communities of Europe. As for furriers, according to Otwarte Klatki, a Polish animal rights group, there are around 550 farms in Poland that exploit 5.2 million animals for their fur, for an activity that represents nearly 1.6 million billion euros.

“Poland’s standards must be better”

The law is fiercely criticized by farmers. Farmers protested outside the president’s party headquarters on Wednesday, chanting “Kaczynski betrayed the countryside”. A small party in the governing coalition – made up of three parties – refused to vote in favor of the law, provoking the ire of PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski. The latter threatened to exclude these partners from his coalition, or even to call early elections. After hours of debate, with the support of the liberal opposition, the law was adopted with 356 votes in favor and 75 against, while 18 elected representatives abstained.

→ MAINTENANCE. Animal condition: “A bench is more valuable than a dog or a cat”

“Poland’s standards for animals should not be lower, but better than those of Western countries”, recently emphasized Jaroslaw Kaczynski. A fight that is not limited to the Conservative Party: the Polish Olga Tokarczuk, Nobel Prize for Literature, has also called for the adoption of this law.


Autumn Ramsey, the avatar garden

At the Crevecœur gallery (Paris XXe), the hanging of Autumn Ramsey’s canvases spares long distances between them. No doubt because the paintings of the American give off puffs of vapor and they circulate in thick clouds beyond the limits of their frame. It is an image, of course. The depicted figures, rooster, lion, bird of prey, half-naked woman or cut flowers, remain in their place in the center of the canvases. But, the brush does everything to keep them away and make them flee, to blur them, to dilute their proud silhouette in the meanders of a cottony, vaporous and ultimately dreamlike background. Which, paradoxically, makes it a painting both loaded (with volutes, curves and arabesques) and fleeting. The animal motifs, the leafy landscapes, the lascivious bodies are posed conspicuously on the front, but quickly seem to renounce them and prefer to escape from the scene, from their role, to faint, to camouflage themselves, to disappear.

Crazy grasses

Most of the figures are captured while they are resting. Birds don’t fly. They are placed on a branch. The lion, lying on its side, lazily licks one paw as the human creatures languish nonchalantly. At such times, everyone gets their health back. Relaxes. Painting too: Autumn Ramsey excels at thickening the fur of animals or their plumage and the heavy flesh of sagging bodies. The same goes for flowers whose petals look silky and greasy. This painting, which gives up chiseling the line, softly fluffy.

In this compact material, there is plenty of room to surreptitiously curl up shapes. Garden represents less than a garden, rather a bushy nook, planted with a few shrubs and weeds in the center of which, something, a shadow floats. Plump poultry? A game hanging headlong, which would bring Baselitz back into history? These ghost appearances are legion in Ramsey’s art. See this beast’s paw or woman’s finger which ends in a funny twist sketching the bud of a plant or an insect. It is therefore a painting of metamorphoses. Human bodies tend to become flowers, the flowers of beasts, and beasts, flowers. Identities are no longer stable. And the portraits of women are much less or much more than that: portraits of half-women, half-goddesses, half-men, androgynous ephebes.


The depicted creatures are full of all the realms of the living and pass smoothly from one to the other as one passes through the other side of the curtain. In this, it is an art of the marvelous which draws from the side of Gustave Moreau and his hallucinated visions, while softening however what the painting of the Symbolist could have of cruel.

Judicaël Lavrador

Autumn Ramsey Galerie Crevecoeur, 9, rue des Cascades, 75020. Until October 10. Rens. :


Shaving women in cinema: from humiliation to liberation | ICON

The live action version of Mulán He does not limit himself to photocopying the original, but reimagines it at his own pace. However, there is a repeated scene: the stormy night in which Mulan cuts his hair with two cuts of a sword. That image is the most remembered in the film because Mulan belongs to a club, the Disney princesses, where traditionally only girls with beautiful hair that require hours of care are allowed in. By giving up his hair, Mulan was taking a burden off himself.

Shaving women has worked as a humiliation maneuver in all wars. Hence the impact of seeing Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta, to Anne Hathaway on The Miserables or Lena Headey in Game of Thrones being stripped of their femininity and thus neutralized as human beings. That is why it is liberating when the woman himself makes the decision: Demi Moore in. Lieutenant O’Neil, You and Little women (She sold her hair to help her family financially in a maturity rite that horrified her frivolous sister Amy, who exclaimed: “But she was your only beauty!”) or Charlize Theron in Mad Max. And if not, tell Britney Spears, who shaved herself smiling as if her rebellion were part of the show: that hair, which had been made with pompoms, had only given her displeasure.

Mulan was one of those who rejoiced the most when the hairdressers reopened after confinement.

This year Birds of prey It included a fight in which Harley Quinn offered her henchman a scrunchie so that he could distribute hosts more comfortably. And when the Okoye of Black Panther She had a mission in the real world and they forced her to wear a wig incognito, a discomfort that she did not understand, she ended up using it as a throwing weapon against the bad guys. Each movement for black vindication has been underlined by the emancipation of Afro-Americans or by the renunciation of wearing a wig: hair is both private and public. Aesthetic and political.

Mulan, not by chance, got rid of this hindrance using a sword (a weapon of violence and an instrument of honor) and ended up saving China, but now claiming her femininity and defeating the villain, dressed as a woman, with the help of a scarf. and a fan. When June cut her hair in The maid’s tale he took the opportunity to tear off a tracker that had been inserted into his ear: liberation was never so literal.

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DNA at the crime scene sneaks up on the killer’s origin and skin, eye and hair color | Science

On the night of April 30, 1999, a 16-year-old girl, Marianne Vaatstra, was raped and killed on her way home by bicycle. Her body was found with her throat cut in Veenklooster, a small Dutch village with a nearby center for migrants awaiting political asylum. In the absence of suspects in the environment of the teenager, the police soon targeted two men from the foreigners center, one from Iraq and the other from Afghanistan, but they were ruled out because their DNA did not match that of the semen present in the body of the girl.

“Shortly after the crime, the neighbors were convinced that the culprit must be one of the asylum seekers, if only by the murder method, the slaughter, which was assumed to be non-European,” recalls geneticist Manfred. Kayser of the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. The tension reached such a point that a lynching was being chewed, so the authorities made an unprecedented decision: analyze the DNA of the semen to try to find out the geographical origin of the killer. And the results ruled that he was most likely a man from northern western Europe.

“In Spain we do not have a legal framework to know how far we can go”, regrets the geneticist Antonio Alonso

Kayser remembers the case of Marianne Vaatstra because she showed that science advanced much faster than the laws. DNA analysis to predict the origin of the killer was done illegally. However, the wild unsolved crime prompted shortly after two legislative reforms. Today, the Netherlands is one of the few states in the world that has regulated the use of genetic testing to infer the geographic origin and skin, eye and hair color of an unknown suspect. And the Dutch authorities also allow the search of non-identical but similar DNA profiles, to reach a criminal through his relatives. Marianne Vaatstra’s killer was identified and arrested in 2012, after collecting DNA from 6,600 neighbors. It was Jasper Steringa, a Dutch farmer who lived near the crime scene.

“In Spain we do not have a legal framework to know how far we can go,” regrets the geneticist Antonio Alonso, vice president of the National Commission for the Forensic Use of DNA, under the Ministry of Justice. The latest report of the committee warns of the “need for legal regulation” before the current “technological revolution in the field of forensic genetics.” The document stresses that it is already possible to predict with very high precision some features of a person from their DNA, such as black skin (99%), very pale skin (83%), brown eyes (95%), blue eyes (94%) and red hair (93%).

“We want to promote a legislative reform to regulate these applications, which are already being used because they are requested by the judges,” explains Alonso, also director of the National Institute of Toxicology and Forensic Sciences, in the Madrid town of Las Rozas. Other genetic snitches are on the way: markers for baldness, curly hair, face shape, freckles, early gray hair, and even the folding of the earlobe.

The new report recalls the case of Eva Blanco, a 17-year-old girl who was raped and murdered on the night of April 20, 1997, when she was returning to her home in the Madrid town of Algete. After almost two decades without clues, the Civil Guard requested a new analysis of the DNA present at the crime scene, this time with the latest advances in genetics. Ángel Carracedo’s laboratory at the University of Santiago de Compostela ruled that the murderer was, most likely, a North African man with black hair and brown eyes. The Civil Guard searched for all the Maghreb people residing in Algete in 1997, asked them for a voluntary DNA analysis and ended up identifying two brothers of the suspect, Ahmed Chelh, who was arrested and appeared hanged in the Madrid prison of Alcalá Meco in January 2016.

Ahmed Chelh, arrested in 2015 for the murder of Eva Blanco in 1997.

Ahmed Chelh, arrested in 2015 for the murder of Eva Blanco in 1997.

“Nowadays, if a judge asks you to do these analyzes, they are done, but in the long run the test may collapse if the lawyers argue that there is no legal framework,” warns Alonso, aware that “these types of techniques can be discriminatory with respect to minorities that are often overrepresented in databases. “

The scientific community has traditionally differentiated the coding regions of DNA – those that contain instructions for making proteins and that can therefore be linked to a person’s external characteristics or susceptibility to diseases – and non-coding ones. Spanish legislation, through Organic Law 10/2007, states that only non-coding DNA profiles can be included in the police database “that are exclusively revealing of the identity of the subject and sex, but, in in no case, those of a codifying nature that allow revealing any other genetic data or characteristic ”.

The report by the National Commission for the Forensic Use of DNA warns that “currently there is not such a clear distinction” between coding DNA and non-coding DNA. “Therefore, both types of DNA markers need a legal regulation that establishes the purposes, the proportionality and the limits of their use,” says the document. The commission suggests that these new genetic tests – on the external features of a suspect and his possible geographic origin – be used only in serious crimes, with judicial authorization and provided that all lines of investigation have been exhausted.

“If we want to avoid negative applications at all costs, the only solution is not to do science, but then we will not have positive applications either,” says geneticist Manfred Kayser

Geneticists Ángel Carracedo and Chris Phillips, from the Institute of Forensic Sciences of the University of Santiago de Compostela, are two of the leaders of the European consortium Visage, a project financed with five million euros to design techniques that determine the physical characteristics, the origin biogeographic and the age of a person from their DNA. The Galician laboratory, Carracedo recalls, was a pioneer in this line of research after the attacks of March 11, 2004 in Madrid, when its scientists analyzed various items of clothing and a backpack to find out if the DNA present in them was North African or European.

“When there are no witness testimonies and there are no matches in the DNA databases [de delincuentes ya fichados]”The new genetic analyzes offer more details on the traces left at the crime scene, but these tests are still taking their first steps for its routine application in Spain,” says Phillips. His team also participated in Operation Minstead: the search for an elderly rapist in London who was arrested in 2009 after a genetic analysis predicted his Caribbean origin.

Scientists from the European Visage consortium are aware of the ethical implications of their work. Judging that an unknown serial rapist is of Caribbean origin implies that there will be many innocents who will be investigated only for being of Caribbean origin. “In my opinion, there can be positive and negative applications, as is often the case with science. If we want to avoid negative applications at all costs, the only solution is not to do science, but then we will not have positive applications either, ”says geneticist Manfred Kayser, coordinator of the Visage project.

“The way out of this dilemma is to have strict regulation that only allows positive applications,” adds Kayser. A team of ethics experts, led by Barbara Prainsack of the University of Vienna, is finalizing a document to promote the responsible use of new genetic analyzes. Without adequate legislation, everything depends on the criteria of the authorities on duty, as Antonio Alonso emphasizes: “In the end, in our legal system what matters most is proportionality. What is worth more? The privacy of certain innocent people or avoiding another killed by a serial killer in a town in Spain? Well, many judges, and many reasonable people, will say that they prefer to take that personal privacy a little bit to avoid a new murder ”.


Why should you never wear the mask on your hair or chin?

ABC Health



To protect us from coronavirus and avoid other health problems, it is not enough to use the mask. It is important to use it and keep it correctly. “We have to be aware that when we put on the mask it comes into contact with the bacteria that are on our skin,” says virologist and professor of Microbiology at CEU San Pablo University, Estanislao Nistal. The mask can go accumulating bacteria if we rest it on the chin or the fur, for example. To illustrate, Nistal cites as an example the staphylococci that, at the skin level can be detected when we have a small wound in the skin, for example when shaving, and the pimples that come out are actually small infections as a result of staph.

Staphylococci can also cause respiratory infections, or a coinfection or a second infection when we have the flu. In this line, the professor of microbiology points to the importance of extreme attention when putting on and taking off the mask. They should not be moved or removed towards the chin or hair, since it is in contact and accumulates microorganisms in our body. Nistal remembers that when handling the mask it must be done from the rubber bands that are put behind the ears.

Furthermore, if we reuse mask for several days, “we are accumulating and subsequently inhaling these bacteria and we may have a problem such as throat, mouth, or nose discomfort». Nistal also warns of the «risk that these bacteria can go down to the lower part of our lungs and cause a bacterial infection that results in pneumonia. Especially in people who have had SARS-CoV 2 it can aggravate their pathology, or that of other people with other underlying pathologies, which increases the risk of severe pneumonia, such as patients with cystic fibrosis. “

Finally, the virologist remembers that, if we have to take off the mask for any specific reason, it is advisable to “store it in a container that does not expose the mask, as in a paper envelope, which is dehydrating and somewhat hinders the possible growth of bacteria. Better than leaving it on a surface or in a plastic bag.


World Panther – Culture / Next

Like a journey without purpose, which repeats itself but without boring, the snow leopard lead the way in an epic of patience. Sylvain Tesson, winner of the 2019 Renaudot Prize, returned from this trip with the story of a meeting between a beast he thought had disappeared and a photographer who dreamed of being invisible.

When Sylvain Tesson first met Vincent Munier, the art of stillness advocated by the animal photographer seemed at first to be out of step with the nomadism so characteristic of the writer’s stories. The meeting of these two opposites gives rise to a trip to Tibet, in search of the shadow of this mystical animal with a snow-covered coat. As usual, Sylvain Tesson tells through short chapters the stages that forge a journey: the arrival on foreign soil, the meeting of a culture, the expectation of what one has come to seek. And reveals itself over the pages, the story of a man who dedicates his life to “The veneration of beasts” and that of an animal believed to be tracked down, but which observes much better than it has been observed.

It is a journey of the senses and of time, interspersed with a few aphorisms of which the writer alone has the secret. An ode to the song of the mountains, the silence of the plains, the discreet existence of forgotten animals. Whether you are sensitive to animals or to humans, the story caresses the faces of these two animals linked by what opposes them. One appears when the other is deleted, and vice versa.

To write a story is often to write emotions, twists and intrigue. To write a trip like this is to speak of the waiting, the silence and the patience that we city dwellers are sorely lacking. Sometimes you have to find a way in the literature to keep your mouth shut, and to travel still from one page to another.

Consent to the world, and possibly return from travel. This would sum up this journey and that of reading this book.

Alessia Costantini Event producer

Sylvain Tesson Snow leopard Gallimard, 176 pp., € 18.90 (ebook: € 12.99).