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BCMS Cattle Movements in the UK

Recent years have seen diseases of farm livestock in the United Kingdom having a huge economic impact, particularly foot and mouth disease in 2001, classical swine fever in 2000, and bovine spongiform encephalopathy since 1986.

The movement of farm livestock around the country is important to the economics of UK farming, but each movement clearly carries the risk of transmitting infection. This was most dramatically demonstrated during the 2001 FMD outbreak, when animal movements spread FMD to twelve distinct locations across the UK before the introduction of nation-wide movement restrictions on February 23, 2001.

It is a legal requirement in the UK that keepers of cattle report most movements of their cattle to the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS). The RADAR Project makes this BCMS data available to researchers.

Research at Warwick based on this cattle movement data is aiming to understand what features of the way in which cattle are moved around the country are important for the dynamics of infectious diseases within the UK cattle herd, and how cattle movement patterns might be modified to reduce the risk of disease outbreaks. We are interested in a range of related topics, including the mathematical representation of the BCMS movement data, the simulation of diseases upon networks derived from it, the generation of model networks based on BCMS data for studying potential control strategies, and the policy implications of research upon cattle movement networks.

Funded by:

Wellcome Trust

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BBSRC

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People involved:
Matt Keeling
Ellen Brooks Pollock
Matthew Vernon