Animal Diseases

Animal Diseases

Dresses and photos. 2004.
Exhibited in Salo Art Museum Veturitalli and in the Finnish Food Safety Authoroty Evira opening ceremony 2005.

I emroidered three evening dresses with Avian flu – ’Chicken Influenza’, BSE – ’Mad Cow Disease’ and Foot-and-mouth disease as their themes. Through these sculpture-like outfits I drew a parallel between two silent groups: animals and persons with disabilities. The problems of both groups arise from indifference towards their right to existence and their moral value.

Model: Jaana Husu-Kallio
Photo: Ilkka Hannula


BSE – Mad Cow Disease. Until 2006 it was legal in the EU to raise cattle in the type of barns in which the movements of the animals are limited to getting up and lying down. Their care is often fully automaticised, and they never get to go outside in the open air during their entire lives.

For many persons with disabilities, getting stuck inside the house is also a part of everyday life. Meals arrive from the food service, a nurse comes by to give an injection, a cleaner drops by to tidy up and the laundry is delivered in a bag at the door. Because a human being can survive living like this, no attention is paid to his/her social life. And there is no support to participate in society, politics etc. (Subjective right for personal assistance came 2009)


Avian Flu – ’Chicken influenza’. Cramped and crowded spaces, where different animals are mixed, make it possible for diseases like Chicken influenza to spread from one animal species to another. In these conditions, animals cannot act in their natural way and for example, chickens wing bones become frail as they have no room to fly. The overcrowded space is also difficult from the point of view of hygiene.

In the big care establishments for the elderly and persons with disabilities, the special needs linked to people’s individuality and personality do not receive attention. Living in these care centres can cause compulsive behaviour: moving back-and-forth, disorderly behaviour, or continuously asking questions. Many suffer from living in a social group that they have not chosen, for example in a room with several people or “other patients”.