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Farm husbandry and the risks of disease transmission between wild and domestic mammals: a brief review focusing on bovine tuberculosis in badgers and cattle

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 March 2007

A. I. Ward*
Central Science Laboratory, Sand Hutton, York, YO41 1LZ, UK
B. A. Tolhurst
School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QG, UK
R. J. Delahay
Central Science Laboratory, Sand Hutton, York, YO41 1LZ, UK
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Where wildlife act as a reservoir of disease for domestic mammals, measures solely based on management of either in isolation are unlikely to resolve the problem. Many such diseases can have serious economic implications for farmers and the economy and their management can present considerable challenges. Traditionally, wildlife populations have been culled in attempts to reduce the risks of disease transmission to livestock (e.g. bovine tuberculosis in European badgers and brushtail possums). However, this may be both undesirable and potentially counter-productive in some circumstances. Consequently, in recent years increasing attention has focused on changing livestock husbandry and farm management practices so as to reduce risks of disease transmission from wildlife to livestock. Here we present a brief review of husbandry and farm management practices that may influence disease transmission risks from wild to domestic mammals, with particular attention to bovine tuberculosis in the UK. We conclude that the manipulation of farming practices could potentially make a significant contribution to disease risk management. However, there are currently scant empirical data on risk reduction methods and further information will undoubtedly be required to inform husbandry best-practice.

Research Article
Copyright © British Society of Animal Science 2006

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