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Biosecurity, "sound science" and the prevention paradox: farmers' understandings of animal health

Enticott, Gareth Paul ORCID: 2008. Biosecurity, "sound science" and the prevention paradox: farmers' understandings of animal health. [Working Paper]. BRASS Working Paper Series, vol. 44. Cardiff: BRASS, Cardiff University.

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Drawing on the example of bovine Tuberculosis (bTb), this paper argues that the failure to include social science within discourses of “sound science” has compromised attempts to encourage farmers to implement “biosecurity” and generate agricultural “ownership” of animal diseases. Using theories from the sociology of health and agricultural extension, the paper outlines the importance of cultural understandings of animal health and biosecurity for effective policy making. Analysis of ethnographic interviews with 61 farmers in England and Wales provides a range of reasons why farmers do and do not implement biosecurity. Drawing on the concept of lay epidemiology and ideas of ‘the candidate’ – that is, the terms by which someone/thing is most likely to suffer from a particular illness – the paper shows how farmers construct other farmers, farms farmers, cattle and badgers as likely to be a candidate for bTb; and how aspects of luck and fatalism are significant elements of candidature. In failing to consider the cultural understanding of disease, the paper argues that official versions of animal health have served to reinforce the explanatory power of candidacy and traditional understandings of bTb, thereby overriding attempts to promote biosecurity.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS)
Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Publisher: BRASS, Cardiff University
ISBN: 9781906644000
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 09:14

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