The politics of endemic diseases of cattle
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The politics of endemic diseases of cattle. Some research approaches from political science. A very fortunate cow. Bovine TB: policy failure?. Extensive files in National Archives up to 1992 A very difficult issue for ministers and civil servants Referred up to prime minister

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The politics of endemic diseases of cattle

The politics of endemic diseases of cattle

Some research approaches from political science



Bovine tb policy failure
Bovine TB: policy failure?

  • Extensive files in National Archives up to 1992

  • A very difficult issue for ministers and civil servants

  • Referred up to prime minister

  • Ministers only saw damage to their political reputations – hostile media


Some policy strategies
Some policy strategies

  • External reports, some of which caused even more trouble

  • Constructions of reality – the rogue badger

  • Folkington Bowl incident

  • Resort to stakeholder forums to reconcile divergent interests – inside tent


Current situation
Current situation

  • Reactor numbers increasing

  • Impacting on relationship between farmers and government and development of animal health strategy

  • Disagreement about evidence base

  • Policy experiment in Wales

  • Become a partisan issue



Animal welfare issues
Animal welfare issues

  • Mentioned as important unprompted at maximum by 2 per cent of voters, prompts can push up to 6-7 per cent

  • Well organised and funded stakeholder groups represent intensity of feeling

  • Willingness to resort to direct action

  • Highly emotional


Political diseases model
Political diseases model

  • Which diseases acquire political salience and why?

  • Varies over time and by country

  • Model in development and applied to endemic diseases of cattle in UK and Australia

  • Initial list produced by discussion within team


Five groups of factors
Five groups of factors

  • Links with human health

  • Political factors (5)

  • Management factors (6)

  • International effects (3)


Political factors
Political factors

  • Level of public/media awareness of disease

  • Position of key industry stakeholder groups

  • Position of animal welfare groups

  • Does controlling the disease involve an animal living in the wild? (NB: ferals)

  • International animal health reputation


Uk australia differentiators
UK-Australia differentiators

  • Importance of agricultural trade

  • Pride in Australia’s reputation

  • Policy innovation – biosecurity

  • Historic experience of exotic incursions

  • Awareness of fragility of ecology

  • Much of this relates to exotics


Bovine johnes disease
Bovine Johnes’ disease

  • Quite extensive programmes in Australia

  • Inter-state tensions

  • Concerns about trade impacts

  • But above all concern about the reported but unproven association between BJD and Crohn’s disease


More work to be done
More work to be done

  • Weighting of factors, but zoonosis status is important

  • Running model against different diseases to make comparisons and also between UK and Australia

  • Further work on stakeholder groups and policy, role of state vets

  • Thanks to Defra Animal Welfare Team


Some questions
Some questions

  • Is there a useful political science contribution to the study of endemic diseases of cattle?

  • Why are some diseases more politically salient than others?

  • http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/gld

  • http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/pais/staff/grant