Scout Calvert deposited Ready for the Robot: Bovines in the Integrated Circuit in the group Animal Studies on Humanities Commons 3 years, 8 months ago
A typical cow on Earth at the turn of the 21st century is figured as an information-generating machine. She generates data from the time she is born, at every developmental milestone, with the birth, growth, and death of each of her calves, including birth, weaning, and yearling weight, calving ease, and feeding data that help farmers compute efficiency and make breeding and slaughtering decisions. If she is a milk cow, data are kept every time she goes to the milking parlor to be milked. She may leave traces each time she leaves the farm, if she travels across state lines, or is sold or slaughtered. The data she produces are the basis for novel technologies that purport to increase simultaneously the agency and the productivity of cows. In this paper, I consider contemporary cattle breeding practices in light of developments in farm automation and Donna Haraway’s cyborg figure.