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Returns on investment to the British bovine tuberculosis control programme

K Aleks Schaefer (), Daniel P. Scheitrum and Steven van Winden

Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2022, vol. 73, issue 2, 472-489

Abstract: In the animal health arena, government‐mandated testing, herd movement restrictions, and culling of reactor (infected) animals are common practices in the midst of an infectious disease outbreak. These policies create a significant economic trade‐off—on one hand, such control efforts represent a public good by reducing the negative externality of private actions associated with the transmission of infectious disease; on the other hand, they impose substantial economic costs on the affected farms. This paper empirically evaluates the economic trade‐offs created by disease control efforts in the context of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in Great Britain. We find that—in this context—government control efforts are clearly cost‐effective. Mandatory testing, imposition of movement restrictions on infected herds, and culling of reactor animals generate an annual external value of approximately £152 million to the British beef sector with a social return‐on‐investment of 3.46. Moreover, coupled compensation averts approximately 75% of the farm exits that would otherwise have resulted from these policies.

Date: 2022
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