Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Living with cows, sheep and endemic disease in the north of England: embodied care, biosocial collectivities and killability.

Holloway, Lewis; Mahon, Niamh; Clark, Beth; Proctor, Amy


Profile Image

Professor Lewis Holloway
Professor of Human Geography. Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise, Faculty of Science and Engineering

Niamh Mahon

Beth Clark

Amy Proctor


This paper engages with debates surrounding practices of care in complex situations where human and non-human lives are entangled. Focusing on the embodied practices of care involving farmers, their advisers and cows and sheep in the North of England, the paper explores how biosocial collectivities fabricate care around endemic health conditions in specific farming situations. Based on in-depth research with farmers and advisers, the paper examines how Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) and lameness are made ‘visible’ and become cared about, what practices are mobilised in response to an evident need to care, and how some animals are, paradoxically, made ‘killable’ in the practising of care for populations of cows and sheep. The paper discusses how the perspectives of farmers and advisers are aligned in developing practices of care for animals, although there are some tensions and differences between these groups. Advisers focus on making endemic diseases important to farmers, so that they become enrolled into taking prescribed action. However, the sets of competing priorities farmers have to address, in complex on-farm situations, along with some resistance to taking prescribed action, produces other perspectives on and practices of care. The paper concludes by emphasising the problematics of practising care in farming, showing how care for endemic disease coexists with harm to some animals and the reproduction of modes of farming which make it more likely that endemic conditions persist.


Holloway, L., Mahon, N., Clark, B., & Proctor, A. (2022). Living with cows, sheep and endemic disease in the north of England: embodied care, biosocial collectivities and killability. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 18, 2022
Online Publication Date Jun 7, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date May 19, 2022
Publicly Available Date Aug 4, 2022
Journal Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space
Print ISSN 2514-8486
Electronic ISSN 2514-8494
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Farming; Endemic health conditions; UK; Farmed animals
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations