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Dark Pastures
Agnus scythicus

For reasons I haven't investigated yet, goats seem to be popular pharm animals. At the University of California at Davis, researchers have genetically modified a herd of goats to produce milk that could greatly enhance one's ability to fight off diarrhea-causing bacteria. At Texas A&M University, meanwhile, researchers are planning to turn goats into malaria vaccine factories. So while some are being corralled as eco-mowers-cum-performance artists into the feral voids of post-econopocalypse cities, these super-goats might someday be saving sick kids.

Perhaps the most famous are the BioSteel™ Goats, which were augmented with spider genes to produce milk containing silk protein. When processed, this “silk milk” is transformed into microfibers for use in making bullet-proof vests and medical sutures. When the company that created these goats went bankrupt, some were sent off “far away from people” to the old Plattsburgh Air Force Base in Plattsburgh, NY. There, they were housed in possibly the most restricted part of the base: inside a Cold War-era bunker that used to contain a sizable arsenal of nuclear bombs.

Plattsburgh Air Force Base

A couple ended up at the Canada Agriculture Museum. The status of the other goats appears to be unknown. And therein lies my recurrent spatial fantasies about transgenic goats.

Once their usefulness as test subjects has depleted — or their owners go bankrupt, the animals are redacted from the record and then sent to pastoral meadows. No sign anywhere on the property gives any hint as to their genetic peculiarities. There are no electric fences, no surveillance monitors, and no sirens for use when these quarantined transgenic storms escape and wreak havoc on the surrounding chromosomal landscape. Even the agents from the Department of Agriculture assigned to look after the herd are disguised as shepherds. So generically Arcadian are these pastures that genetic purists smelling for a pogrom will pass them by unaware. Sun-dappled they may be, but they're biogeographical dark spots under a perpetual total genomic eclipse.

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