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‘Even one-off cattle purchases can be a big risk’

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By Josh Loeb

Farms trading directly with only a few others could unwittingly be connecting themselves to thousands more via yearly ‘contact chains’ that may hasten disease spread.

So says Helen Fielding, a PhD researcher and vet studying bovine TB (bTB), who is one of the authors of a new study looking into the extent to which British beef and dairy farms are connected to one another via cattle movements.

As part of the study – published in the journal Royal Society Open Science – Fielding and her University of Exeter colleague Robbie McDonald analysed patterns of buying and selling cattle on …

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