Research into the past, present and future of endemic livestock diseases, and how they can be addressed through combining social scientific, scientific and historical perspectives.
Our researchers Professor Lewis Holloway and Dr Niamh Mahon are members of the project’s interdisciplinary team of social scientists, historians, economists and epidemiologists. Members also include researchers from the University of Lincoln, Newcastle University, University of Glasgow, University of Edinburgh and Leeds Trinity University.
The FIELD team looks specifically at endemic diseases: defined as those which are continually present in particular regions or populations. We focus on two common examples in Britain: Bovine Viral Diarrhoea in cows; and lameness in sheep and cattle. These diseases cannot be caught by people, but do affect animal welfare and farm productivity.
It explores the influence of biological, social, cultural, economic, environmental and regulatory factors on endemic livestock disease within four different farming systems:
- Indoor dairy systems (where cows are kept indoors all year around).
- ‘Grazed’ dairy systems (where cows are grazing outside for the non-winter months).
- Lowland beef and sheep farming.
- Upland beef and sheep farming.
We are working closely with a steering committee and group of collaborators to conduct research that might impact policy and practice in this area. Our social science research involves in-depth research with farmers, vets and other professionals working with cattle and sheep to understand current practices relating to endemic diseases, why such diseases persist, and how they can be addressed more effectively in the future