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"Knowing Animal Health in the Environment: contesting bovine TB and British badgers since c. 1965" Angela Cassidy (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar series

Egenis seminar series - Bovine TB (bTB) is a chronic infectious disease of cattle which can also affect other mammals: until well into the 1940s it was a source of human disease in the UK, and remains so in some parts of the world today. While the risks of bTB have been well controlled in humans and animals since the late 1960s, the disease has persisted in British cattle herds, and since the 1990s infection rates have accelerated. The UK has also experienced an increasingly high profile public controversy over government policies to cull wild badgers in order to control bTB in cattle. This paper will give an overview of the history of this controversy, which has been ongoing since the early 1970s, when government veterinarians first connected persistent outbreaks of bTB in cattle herds to their discovery of infected wild badgers in Gloucestershire. I will discuss my research and book in progress, which maps the long term development of the badger/bTB controversy, exploring a series of factors contributing to the current situation. To close, I will discuss the implications of the bTB case for wildlife, agriculture and infectious disease policy; for relationships between science, evidence and policymaking; and for processes of public environmental debate, both within and beyond the UK.

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Byrne House