Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is currently regarded as one of the world's worst animal plagues. But how did this label become attached to a curable disease that poses little threat to human health? And why, in the epidemic of 2001, did the government's control strategy still rely upon Victorian trade restrictions and mass slaughter? This groundbreaking and well-researched book shows that, for over a century, FMD has brought fear, tragedy and sorrow- damaging businesses and affecting international relations. Yet these effects were neither inevitable nor caused by FMD itself but were, rather, the product of the legislation used to control it, and in this sense FMD is a 'manufactured' plague rather than a natural one. A Manufactured Plague turns the spotlight on this process of manufacture, revealing a rich history beset by controversy, in which party politics, class relations, veterinary ambitions, agricultural practices, the priorities of farming and the meat trade, fears for national security and scientific progress all made FMD what it is today.
This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 license. This book breaks new ground by situating animals and their diseases at the very heart of modern medicine. In demonstrating their historical significance as subjects and shapers of medicine, it offers important insights into past animal lives, and reveals that what we think of as ‘human’ medicine was in fact deeply zoological. Each chapter analyses an important episode in which animals changed and were changed by medicine. Ranging across the animal inhabitants of Britain’s zoos, sick sheep on Scottish farms, unproductive livestock in developing countries, and the tapeworms of California and Beirut, they illuminate the multi-species dimensions of modern medicine and its rich historical connections with biology, zoology, agriculture and veterinary medicine. The modern movement for One Health – whose history is also analyzed – is therefore revealed as just the latest attempt to improve health by working across species and disciplines. This book will appeal to historians of animals, science and medicine, to those involved in the promotion and practice of One Health today.