Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Making a mark on the farm: The marks and traces of farm animals and infectious diseases in northern England

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


Niamh Mahon

Shane Finan

Profile Image

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

Beth Clark

Amy Proctor


Farmed animals are expected to move through farmed spaces in certain ways to maximise their productivity. These spaces are also designed to limit the movement of disease-causing organisms. However, both types of lifeform do not always move in expected ways. We focus on the mark-making of these organisms to explore: (, 1) the evidence of their movements through farm spaces;, and (2) the effects of these movements on managing farm animal disease. We explore these questions via social- scientific and artistic practices. The social science draws on in-depth interviews with UK cattle and sheep farmers, and also farm advisors. The artistic component draws on work conducted by an ‘artist in residence’ engaging with farm animals and farmer-livestock relationships. Farm animals and infectious microorganisms were found to move in different ways and create different marks and traces across farms, bodies, and on how diseases were managed. These lifeforms often frustrated biosecurity practices of exclusion and enclosure, and existed on a spectrum of disease risk. Human actors needed to learn to become attuned to lifeform movements in order to enact disease management. We conclude by suggesting a continued focus in future social-scientific research on how the ‘sub-animal body’ contributes to the enacting of farm disease management.


Mahon, N., Finan, S., Holloway, L., Clark, B., & Proctor, A. (in press). Making a mark on the farm: The marks and traces of farm animals and infectious diseases in northern England. Scottish Geographical Journal,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 27, 2024
Deposit Date Apr 15, 2024
Journal Scottish Geographical Journal
Print ISSN 1470-2541
Electronic ISSN 1751-665X
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords animal geographies, artistic practice, disease, farm animals, marks and traces
Public URL
Publisher URL Latest articles: