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An integrated approach to biosecurity on UK cattle and sheep farms. - SE4003

British cattle and sheep farmers look to government to provide biosecurity from exotic and emerging diseases. Whilst there has been a growth in voluntary biosecurity initiatives in the UK in recent years, these are diverse, uncoordinated and focused on specific endemic disease problems. This proposal suggests that biosecurity on UK cattle and sheep farms should be seen as a key example of the need for ‘reconnection’ of the food chain as advocated by the recent Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food, and that current private initiatives can be used as models to study efficacy, feasibility and farmer motivation for improved biosecurity on cattle and sheep farms.

Before `reconnection` can be used to improve biosecurity, all stakeholders must understand the concept, appreciate the relative importance of the various actions involved and their inter-relationships. This requires good understanding of farmer and veterinary motivation and perceptions and detailed comparative appraisal of alternative investments including an assessment of relative risk as well as financial viability/feasibility. Unfortunately, little previous research has been done on the attitude, management approaches and biological and economic relationships needed to perform such an appraisal.

We, therefore, propose a co-ordinated programme of multidisciplinary, qualitative and quantitative research to clarify these relationships and to create a knowledge base for future biosecurity improvement focusing mainly on UK cattle and sheep farms. We will commence with a survey of wider scope, reviewing existing best practice in disease prevention (including “biosecurity”) in all major UK livestock sectors (dairy, beef, sheep, pigs, and egg & poultry), to take into account endemic, zoonotic and exotic diseases. We will explore the balance between currently acceptable practice (from the farmers perspective) with regard to endemic diseases, with best desirable practice for dealing with exotic and emerging diseases. To do this, we will study existing UK and European biosecurity and disease control initiatives for the cattle and sheep industry. We will carry out case studies of current UK initiatives and examine farmer and veterinary attitudes towards these initiatives. The team will provide evidence of potential efficacy and cost/benefit of the approaches and assess the potential impact of these biosecurity approaches on the spread of a number of exotic and emerging diseases that pose a current threat to UK cattle and sheep populations. The proposed research will allow us to identify and develop a suite of technology transfer initiatives. These will inform future policy and encourage adoption of best biosecurity practice in relation to their effect on the spread of infectious diseases, particularly exotic and emerging diseases.
The overall objective is to characterise best biosecurity practice against endemic and exotic diseases on UK cattle and sheep farms in ways that facilitate uptake by:

1) Reviewing existing best practice in disease prevention (including biosecurity) in all major UK livestock sectors (pigs, dairy, beef, sheep and egg & poultry) including extensive, intensive and organic systems

2) Analysing existing, voluntary biosecurity initiatives among sheep and cattle farmers in order to
a) assess their development, uptake, suitability and operational mechanisms;
b) provide evidence of potential efficacy and cost/benefit of the approaches
c) and to assess their potential impact on the spread of a list of exotic diseases that pose a current threat to UK cattle and sheep populations;

3) Creating a knowledge base for biosecurity that aims to categorise, structure and link sources of information on biosecurity in ways that add value to existing data and provide a framework for future development after this project is over

4) Developing policy recommendations for industry and government based on 2a, 2b and 2c.
Project Documents
• EVID4 - Final project report : DEFRA Biosecurity SE4003 Extension SID 5 Final Report   (1121k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 1 General Biosecurity Review   (439k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 10 Exotic Animal Disease Threats   (646k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 2 Finland Review   (293k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 3 The Netherlands Review   (144k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 4 - Biosecurity Case Study Summary   (23k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 5 Economics of Biosecurity   (431k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 6 Summary   (86k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 7 Economics of Biosecurity   (588k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 8 Drivers to Collective Biosecurity Behaviour   (751k)
• ANX - Annex : Appendix 9 Organisational Citizenship Behaviour UK   (375k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2004

To: 2010

Cost: £634,210
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Reading, University - Scottish Agricultural College, Royal Veterinary College
Animal Diseases              
Animal Health              
Disease Prevention              
Plants and Animals              
Fields of Study
Animal Health