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The political economy of bovine tuberculosis in Great Britain

Bennett, R. (2017) The political economy of bovine tuberculosis in Great Britain. Revue Scientifique et Technique, 36 (1). pp. 105-114. ISSN 0253-1933

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To link to this item DOI: 10.20506/rst.36.1.2614


A brief history of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) and its control in Great Britain is presented. Numerous diverse policies to control the disease in man, cattle and wildlife have been pursued over the last 100 years and many millions of pounds have been spent. After notable success in reducing the incidence and prevalence of bTB in cattle in GB from the 1950s to the mid-1980s, the number of cattle slaughtered has increased with increased geographical spread continually since that time with a high point of bTB incidence in 2008. This increase appeared to coincide with changing policy regarding the control of the disease in badgers with a more humane approach adopted and with strengthened protection for badgers through legislation. Indeed, much controversy has been involved in the debate on the role of badgers in disease transmission to cattle and the need for their control as vectors of the disease with various commissioned research projects, trials, public consultations and media attention. The findings of two social science investigations presented as examples showed that citizens generally believed that bTB in cattle is an important issue that needs to be tackled but objected to badgers being killed, whilst cattle farmers were willing to pay around £17/animal/year for a bTB cattle vaccine. It is noted that successes regarding the control of bTB in other countries have combined both cattle and wildlife controls and had strong involvement from industry working with government.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Agri-Food Economics & Marketing
ID Code:65754
Additional Information:ISBN 9789295108301
Publisher:Office International des Epizooties


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