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Keywords:

  • uncertainty;
  • BSE;
  • environmental geography;
  • decision-making;
  • precautionary principle;
  • actor network theory

Increasingly, non-human geographies have unfastened nature from its foundational moorings. In a parallel development, the benefits of adhering to precautionary and participatory forms of decision-making have become common place in environmental geography and in government policy. And yet, on closer inspection, there is a danger in these latter approaches that old certainties regarding non-human natures remain unquestioned. The result can be a tendency to gravitate towards bureaucratic and technical solutions to, or closures on, what are, first and foremost, political and open-ended problems. This paper uses an empirical engagement with BSE-related scientific and policy practices, along with insights from non-human geographies, science studies and poststructuralism to suggest that such certainties and resolutions are misplaced.