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Thinking forward through the past: Linking science, social science and the humanities to inform the sustainable reduction of endemic disease in British livestock farming

People Involved

Professor Lewis Holloway

Professor Lewis Holloway
Professor of Human Geography, Director of Research (School of Environmental Science), Chair of the Faculty of Science and Engineering Ethics Committee

Niamh Mahon

Project Description

Livestock disease today is a complex, pressing problem that threatens the development of more sustainable, ethical and efficient farming methods. This project will devise a fundamentally new approach to its investigation that advances understandings and informs responses. Cutting across the traditionally separate realms of nature and culture, science and society, human and animal, and past, present and future, experts in veterinary history, environmental economics, epidemiological modelling, human and animal geography, rural sociology and cultural history will work collaboratively across six institutions, and in close conjunction with stakeholders to investigate two endemic health problems: Bovine Viral Diarrhoea in cattle, and lameness in cattle and sheep. Experiences of these problems in England since 1947 will be examined within four contrasting farming systems - upland and lowland ‘beef and sheep’, and indoor and pasture-based ‘dairy’ – to reveal how perceptions of, and responses to them co-evolved with the knowledge-practices of farmers and other experts, the lived experiences of farmed livestock, consumer attitudes, and wider political, economic and cultural contexts. Findings will inform - and be informed by - the development of epi-economic models that better predict the future incidence of, and farmer responses to disease, generating suggestions for how to mitigate their effects.

Status Project Live
Funder(s) Wellcome Trust
Value £247,882.00
Project Dates Sep 1, 2018 - Aug 31, 2023