Science, Disease and Dairy Production in Britain, c1927-80

Woods, Abigail (2014) Science, Disease and Dairy Production in Britain, c1927-80. Agricultural History Review, 62 (2). pp. 294-314. ISSN 0002-1490

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Science, Disease and Dairy Production in Britain, c1927-80
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Abstract

This article sheds new light on the relationship between scientific research and livestock production through a case study of the dairy cow disease, mastitis. Despite intensive scientific research, the prevalence of this widespread, costly problem barely changed in the period c.1927–80. Analysis of three successive framings of mastitis within the broader context of agricultural change suggests that this outcome did not reflect the failure of research, but rather its partial success. Throughout, scientists approached mastitis as a problem of production rather than health. In helping to control one form of mastitis, their investigations facilitated the adoption of more intensive farming methods, which
increased milk output while encouraging the emergence of a different form of the disease. This process illustrates the co-construction of cattle health, scientific research and milk production practices. It also shows how productivist agricultural agendas and the practicalities of scientific investigation moulded the conduct of research and its effects on production.

Keywords:history, dairying, mastitis, Britain
Subjects:V Historical and Philosophical studies > V380 History of Science
Divisions:College of Arts
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ID Code:41492
Deposited On:16 Jul 2020 15:55

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