Guernsey cows moo-ve into city centre marquee
Published 21/04/2016 | 17:31
Two Guernsey show cows have moved into Bristol city centre for five days to raise awareness of farming and food production.
Artist Nessie Reid will live with the two cows in a marquee on the city's bustling harbourside as part of an exhibition called The Milking Parlour.
The live installation is designed to explore the current state of farming and how its impact on issues such as climate change and health affects the future.
Ms Reid will milk the cows named Alisa and Meadowsweet, feed them and muck them out - sleeping in a tent nearby at night.
Members of the public will be able to watch three milking demonstrations each day, at breakfast, lunch and tea-time.
There will be four security guards on-site to protect the cows, as well as two vets and Ms Reid, for the four nights they are in Bristol.
"Our planet is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction of plants and animals, with industrial agriculture being one of the largest contributors," Ms Reid said.
"If we are to halt our climate crisis, we need first to understand the many complex systems which contribute towards it.
"The question is: how do we feed ourselves, and our burgeoning population, without it costing the earth?
"What agricultural systems exacerbate climate disruption, and which ones build resilience and support health?
"The Milking Parlour came into being as a direct response of wanting to understand, first hand, where my food came from.
"I hope it can be a platform to gain a deeper understanding of some of these complex themes around food, and food choices."
The project was commissioned by international environmental arts organisation Cape Farewell, where Ms Reid is an artist in residence.
It is a culmination of Ms Reid's 18-month research residency within the organic dairy industry in the UK.
Milk, once hailed as a superfood providing 34% of the recommended daily amount of protein, is now often cheaper to buy than water.
"The purpose of this 'live-in' is to demonstrate the arduous and challenging processes involved in the production of a very normal, everyday product like milk; something we rarely think twice about as we pick a red, green or blue top from the supermarket shelf," Cape Farewell said.
"During the calving and lambing season it is not uncommon for a farmer to construct a temporary bed within an animal's pen.
"The purpose of taking these cows out of their usual rural context into an urban environment is to highlight the major disconnect that now exists between the cities we live in and the production processes that give us the food we eat."
Ms Reid, a graduate from London University's School of Oriental and African Studies, learnt how to milk cows in November 2014 and has been in residence at a number of dairy farms across the South West.