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Geography matters: farmer perceptions of a voluntary TB risk-based trading system
  1. Damian Maye, BSc, MSc, PhD
  1. Countryside and Community Research Institute, University of Gloucestershire, Oxstalls Lane, Longlevens, Gloucester GL2 9HW, UK; e-mail:

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A PAPER summarised on p 148 of this issue of Veterinary Record by Little and others (2017) is to be warmly welcomed. It examines the potential of voluntary risk-based trading as an initiative to improve bovine tuberculosis (bTB) information exchange between cattle sellers and buyers. The mixed method analysis used was based on a representative survey of cattle farmers in high and low bTB-risk areas in England, combined with focus groups and secondary data. The paper provides useful insights into farmer perceptions of market-based bTB governance, and raises wider questions about the logic of using market-based instruments to deal with a complex animal disease such as bTB. A key finding that appeared to be particularly useful and significant was geographical differences in the data. When these differences are linked to wider research in the social science biosecurity literature regarding risk perception and geography, they suggest that there is incompatibility between farmers and bTB policy. This incompatibility is due to place-sensitive farmer beliefs about bTB and nature and neoliberal models of animal health.

The data from the Little and others paper contain important geographical findings, which reflect differences in farmer perceptions of bTB risk in the two risk areas. For example, in terms of cattle trading practices, the risk …

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