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


  • Dr Abigail Woods

    King's College London

  • Dr Lewis Holloway

    University of Hull

  • Prof Rowland Kao

    University of Edinburgh

  • Dr Amy Proctor

    Newcastle University

  • Prof Karen Sayer

    Leeds Trinity University

  • Prof Nick Hanley

    University of Glasgow

Project summary

We urgently need to find better ways of understanding and managing livestock diseases. These diseases undermine animal welfare, productivity and farming sustainability. Threats are rising with antimicrobial resistance and Brexit-driven changes to the regulation of health and trade. The search for solutions is hampered by traditional disciplinary silos which separate the biological analysis of disease from the human factors that shape its effects.

We will develop an interdisciplinary approach to disease that cuts across nature and culture, science and society, human and animal. A team of 13 experts from four disciplines will collaborate across six institutions to work out the past and present effects of two endemic livestock diseases and how they relate to changes in farming systems, communities and the wider world.

Our insights will be used to develop better predictions of disease and to advise on its management.