What will the Scottish cattle industry look like in 2040 and how resilient will it be to livestock diseases.

The Scottish livestock industry and the disease challenges it faces are continually evolving. The wider environment in which this evolution occurs is inherently uncertain. The shape of the future environment will be determined by different drivers of change – developments and influences that will act internally and externally to influence the nature and structure of the cattle industry including its exposure to disease and the impacts of disease. Exploring potential future possibilities empowers today’s decision makers to develop and evaluate current contingency plans to ensure the resiliency of the Scottish livestock industry.

EPIC, in collaboration with Scottish Government and industry stakeholders, has undertaken an exercise called “scenario planning” to think strategically about future disease management in the Scottish cattle industry. By looking at the potential impact of different drivers on the cattle industry in Scotland and considering the threats and opportunities that might be presented by different narratives, strategies to optimize disease management can be developed. EPIC’s aim is to create future narratives for specific livestock sectors. The first of these narratives, undertaken in 2013, addresses the cattle industry. The second, undertaken in 2014, focuses on the sheep industry. We hope that the publication of this report will further facilitate knowledge exchange between EPIC scientists and Scottish Government as well as with interested members of the public.

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