Centre for Rural Economy


FIELD – Farm-level Interdisciplinary approaches to Endemic Livestock Disease

A four-year interdisciplinary project researching how livestock disease is influenced by nature and culture, science and society, and the actions of humans and livestock.

Livestock disease is a complex problem threatening the development of more sustainable, ethical and efficient farming methods. FIELD is looking 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 (BVD) in cows, and lameness in sheep and cattle. These conditions cannot be caught by humans, but they do have an impact on animal health and production. FIELD asks how approaches to livestock disease in the past have informed the way they are managed today. How can the study of disease in the present improve understandings of its past impacts? And how can this knowledge be used to develop better predictions and ways of combating disease in the future?

Traditionally, research into livestock disease has taken place within single academic disciplines. however, many of farming’s current challenges cut across disciplines and call for a more integrated approach. FIELD uses methods from science, social science and the humanities to develop interdisciplinary understandings of the biological, social and historical aspects of disease. Through our research and innovative public engagement programme we aim to:

Contact: Dr Amy Proctor: amy.proctor@ncl.ac.uk

Homepage: https://field-wt.co.uk/