Infectious disease of livestock remains an important problem, seriously damaging rural economies, producing social disruption and impairing public trust and confidence in government. It can result in animal suffering, and potentially affect the health of humans and wildlife.
Livestock disease has generally been seen as a scientific, public health or epidemiological problem, and it has traditionally remained the responsibility of scientific and veterinary professionals. However, retrospective analysis of the 2001 foot and mouth disease epidemic has shown that there are clear, strong economic, political and legal dimensions to livestock disease. The interaction of all these dimensions creates a complexity, which is particularly apparent when policy must be formulated to control disease.
The Governance of Livestock Disease (GoLD) project in the UK studies the interaction between epidemiology, politics, economics and law in determining the patterns of livestock disease. Key features are interdisciplinarity and engagement with stakeholders.
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