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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Vet. Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fvets.2019.00081

Negotiated management strategies for bovine tuberculosis: enhancing risk mitigation in Michigan and the UK

  • 1University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
  • 2Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is an epidemiologically, politically and socially complex disease. Across multiple international contexts, policy makers have struggled to balance the competing demands of wildlife and agricultural interests in their efforts to create workable and effective disease management strategies. This paper draws comparative lessons between the cases of Michigan in the USA and the UK to exemplify some of the challenges of developing an effective strategy for the long-term control of endemic disease, particularly reflecting on efforts to ‘responsibilise’ cattle producers and engage them in proactive activities to mitigate transmission risks on their own farms. Using qualitative data derived from 22 stakeholder interviews, this paper argues that the management of bTB in Michigan has important lessons for the UK on the role of human dimensions in influencing the direction of disease control. The management of endemic bTB relies on the actions of individuals to minimise risk and, in contrast to the predominantly voluntary approach pursued in the UK, Michigan has shifted the emphasis towards obtaining producer support for wildlife risk mitigation and biosecurity via a mix of regulatory, fiscal and social interventions. Whilst the scale of the bTB challenge differs between these two contexts, analysis of the different ideological bases for selecting management approaches offers interesting insights on the role of negotiated outcomes in attempts to adaptively manage a disease that is characterised by complexity and uncertainty.

Keywords: Bovine tuberculosis (bTB), Risk mitigation, biosecurity, human dimensions, responsibilisation

Received: 03 Aug 2018; Accepted: 26 Feb 2019.

Edited by:

Daniel J. O'Brien, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, United States

Reviewed by:

Shawn J. Riley, Michigan State University, United States
Steven L. Halstead, USDA APHIS Veterinary Services, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Little. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Ruth A. Little, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom, ruth.little@sheffield.ac.uk