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Healing the Herds

Disease, Livestock Economies, and the Globalization of Veterinary Medicine

Karen Brown

Publication Year: 2010

Healing the Herds: Disease, Livestock Economies, and the Globalization of Veterinary Medicine offers a new and exciting
comparative approach to the complex interrelationships of microbes, markets, and medicine in the global economy. It draws upon fourteen case studies from the Americas, western Europe, and the European and Japanese colonies to illustrate how the rapid growth of the international trade in animals through the nineteenth century engendered the spread of infectious diseases, sometimes with devastating consequences for indigenous pastoral societies.

At different times and across much of the globe, livestock epidemics have challenged social order and provoked state interventions, which were sometimes opposed by pastoralists. The intensification of agriculture has transformed environments, with consequences for animal and human health. But the last two centuries have also witnessed major changes in the way societies have conceptualized diseases and sought to control them. The rise of germ theories and the discovery of vaccines against some infections made it possible to move beyond the blunt tools of animal culls and restrictive quarantines of the past. Nevertheless, these older methods have remained important to strategies of control and prevention, as demonstrated during the recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Britain in 2001.

From the late nineteenth century, advances in veterinary technologies afforded veterinary scientists a new professional status and allowed them to wield greater political influence. In the European and Japanese colonies, state support for biomedical veterinary science often led to coercive policies for managing the livestock economies of the colonized peoples. In western Europe and North America, public responses to veterinary interventions were often unenthusiastic and reflected a latent distrust of outside interference and state regulation. Politics, economics, and science inform these essays on the history of animal diseases and the expansion in veterinary medicine.

Published by: Ohio University Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

This collection was selected from papers presented at a conference titled 'Veterinary Science, Disease and Livestock Economies,' which was organized by the editors and held at St Antony's College, Oxford, in June 2005. The idea for the conference originated from our project, sponsored...

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pp. ix

We thank the Wellcome Trust for sponsoring our postdoctoral work in South Africa and for providing funds to host the conference in which the present collection has its origins. Thanks go to William Beinart and colleagues...

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pp. 1-18

The publication of a volume on livestock economies and veterinary medicine is perhaps particularly timely at the beginning of the twenty-first century, given that the interest of the urban population in animal health...

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Chapter 1 Epizootic Diseases in the Netherlands, 1713-2002

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pp. 19-41

The growth of livestock production has been regularly threatened and hampered by outbreaks of epizootic diseases, not only today but also in the past. The spread of contagious livestock diseases often coincided with animal...

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Chapter 2 The Now-Opprobrious Title of "Horse Doctor"

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pp. 42-58

American veterinary history has enormous promise as a research field, due to its archival resources and conceptual potential. However, its secondary literature is problematic and frustrating. With few exceptions, it portrays...

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Chapter 3 Breeding Cows, Maximizing Milk

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pp. 59-75

World War II precipitated dramatic changes in British agriculture, as enemy action and the need to preserve scarce shipping space undermined the nation's traditional reliance on food imports. Formerly a marginal industry that had struggled for economic survival throughout the interwar...

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Chapter 4 Policing Epizootics

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pp. 76-91

Epizootics , especially of cattle plague, raged through Europe during the eighteenth century with three peaks in incidence. The first occurred from 1711 to 1717, the second from 1745 to 1757, and the third from 1769 to...

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Chapter 5 For Better or Worse?

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pp. 92-107

Many authors researching the agricultural history of Java or Indonesia mention the importance of livestock and its contribution to economic developments. However, they do not provide a detailed study of the...

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Chapter 6 Fighting Rinderpest in the Philippines, 1886-1941

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pp. 108-128

The great epizootic waves of rinderpest that devastated Philippine bovine populations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are the focus of this chapter.1 This disease struck not only cattle (Bostaurus...

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Chapter 7 Diseases of Equids in Southeast Asia, c. 1800-c. 1945

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pp. 129-145

Despite a proliferation of machines, the nineteenth century witnessed the golden age of the horse and the mule in the West, a phenomenon that was replicated in Asia with some variations. As in the West, equids were crucial to military power, urban transport, and elite ceremonies and sports,...

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Chapter 8 "They Give Me Fever"

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pp. 146-162

It is widely acknowledged that the Maasai of British East Africa (BEA, later renamed Kenya) were relieved of the best part of their territory in the 1900s and moved at gunpoint into reserves, in order to free up the...

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Chapter 9 Animal Disease and Veterinary Administration in Trinidad and Tobago, 1879-1962

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pp. 163-179

From the advent of European control of the Caribbean, there was a preoccupation with plants, the cultivation of which dominated the agricultural sector. However, animals have also played important roles in the development of these territories. They featured in the food and rituals of...

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Chapter 10 Nineteenth-Century Australian Pastoralists and the Origins of State Veterinary Services

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pp. 180-194

In 1993, Sylvie Lepage spoke to a French couple who had bought a ten-thousand- acre property at Cargo in central New South Wales in 1983. Asked why two Parisians became sheep farmers in Australia, Frederic explained...

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Chapter 11 Holding Water in Bamboo Buckets

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pp. 195-214

A bitter Siberian wind greeted delegates as they arrived at the army supply depot on the outskirts of the Manchurian port city of Dairen just after noon on 26 January 1914. Once inside the compound's main office building...

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Chapter 12 Sheep Breeding in Colonial Canterbury (New Zealand)

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pp. 215-231

Sheep farming was the most important agricultural industry in New Zealand from the 1850s to late in the twentieth century. The industry was founded on fine-wooled Merinos imported from the Australian colonies, and wool was the most valuable single agricultural export until the late...

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Chapter 13 Animal Science and the Representation of Local Breeds

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pp. 232-249

Growing international attention to the value of domestic animal biodiversity (DAD) has placed a strong emphasis on locally adapted breeds, particularly in developing countries.1 The initiatives for cataloging DAD...

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Chapter 14 Kenya's Cattle Trade and the Economics of Empire, 1918-48

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pp. 250-268

The study of the history of livestock production in Africa has been dominated in recent years by two closely linked themes. The first is the control of disease, especially the impact of major epizootic outbreaks upon African domestic livestock production;1 the second is the development, or to be...

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pp. 269-274

Contributors to this volume have described a number of important case studies from Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, and Australasia. Collectively, they have explored the gradual professionalization of veterinary services as a result of developments in science and technology and the...


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pp. 275-280

Select Bibliography

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pp. 281-286


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pp. 287-292


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pp. 293-299

E-ISBN-13: 9780821443101
Print-ISBN-13: 9780821418857

Publication Year: 2010