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Oil on Braced Baltic Birch 16” x 16” (Framed)
In the early months of 2020, it was widely believed that Covid-19 was a zoonotic virus originating naturally from either bats or pangolins in the wet markets of Wuhan, China. However, due to mounting evidence, the FBI, U.S. Energy Department, and investigative journalism publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have concluded that it is more likely SARS-CoV-2 was leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology where lethal viruses were engineered using animal DNA. Research on gain-of-function bio-weapon viruses had already been taking place in the United States under the watch of NIH director Dr. Francis Collins. Due to the obvious risk as a national bio-hazard, this research was paused in 2014 by President Obama. Dr. Anthony Fauci and the National Institute of Health continued to fund gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China via EcoHealth Alliance grants, a fact which was first exposed by the White Coat Waste Project.
The Wuhan Laboratory houses a massive Experimental Animal Centre with thousands of cages containing genetically engineered mice, ferrets, bats, rabbits, and dogs. According to a Wuhan University assessment report in 2019, "There is a lot of debris in the laboratory… [it] is crowded & chaotic… Students are not wearing lab coats… Chemical waste & household waste mixed, temporary storage cabinets have simple disposal of biochemical waste.” The Journal of Biosafety and Biosecurity expressed concerns about the quality of animal experiments done there with highly infectious agents, warning that “The infectious animals may escape and cause a potential hazard to humans and the environment when cage lids or doors are not properly locked.” [i]
In my painting, a lone ferret lays deceased on a lab table with a syringe––perhaps one of the many experimental injections for risky gain-of-function research. This work is a lament for the atrocities of vivisection (animal testing). The seven rose petals are symbolic of a funeral. It is my way of eulogizing the Black-Footed Ferret, the most commonly used species for coronavirus vaccine experiments, due to its lung structure resembling that of humans. While at first ferrets showed promising signs of antibody response, many died later when exposed to the wild virus [iii]. Today animals are experimented on in labs all over the world and, as a result, just like the ferrets many of them prematurely perish due to compromised immune systems.
While we mourn the 3 million human deaths caused by Covid-19, I believe the pandemic needs to be re-framed as a cautionary tale for what happens when we “trust the science”––turning a blind-eye to scientists who forego ethics and wisdom, enamoured by money for their mad-science experiments. The pandemic thus exposed the frailty of so-called scientific progress.
[i] Journal of Biosafety and Biosecurity by Guo et al. (2019) “Biosafety and data quality considerations for animal experiments with highly infectious agents at ABSL-3 facilities.” [ii] Lab Report, Wuhan University, 2019. [iii] Dr. Jospeh Mercola, The Truth About COVID-19, 229, 232.
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