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The changing role of veterinary expertise in the food chain
Lookup NU author(s)
Dr Andrew Donaldson
Professor Philip Lowe
Dr Amy Proctor
Enticott G, Donaldson A, Lowe P, Power M, Proctor A, Wilkinson K
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
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This paper analyses how the changing governance of animal health has impacted upon veterinary expertise and its role in providing public health benefits. It argues that the social sciences can play an important role in understanding the nature of these changes, but also that their ideas and methods are, in part, responsible for them. The paper begins by examining how veterinary expertise came to be crucial to the regulation of the food chain in the twentieth century. The relationship between the veterinary profession and the state proved mutually beneficial, allowing the state to address the problems of animal health, and the veterinary profession to become identified as central to public health and food supply. However, this relationship has been gradually eroded by the application of neoliberal management techniques to the governance of animal health. This paper traces the impact of these techniques that have caused widespread unease within and beyond the veterinary profession about the consequences for its role in maintaining the public good of animal health. In conclusion, this paper suggests that the development of the social sciences in relation to animal health could contribute more helpfully to further changes in veterinary expertise.
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