BioSS at the British Society for Animal Science Conference 2024

9 May, 2024
Photograph of the presenters from the "Climate change and endemic diseases" session sponsored by BBSRC.

David Ewing attended the British Society for Animal Science (BSAS) Conference in Belfast from 9-11 April 2024. BSAS works to advance animal science in the UK, improving the understanding of all aspects of animal science and ensuring research and knowledge transfer has a practical and beneficial application. The theme of 2024’s conference was around debating the future role of livestock under increasing environmental change. There was a particular focus on the pressure exerted by livestock on water and air quality and biodiversity and identifying how these pressures can be alleviated whilst establishing a sustainable future role for livestock and ensuring food security. These themes are of particular pertinence to BioSS given our work across animal health and welfare, ecology and environmental science and human health and nutrition.

The first day featured a particularly interesting session sponsored by SEFARI discussing “Controlling Parasites in a Changing World” with contributions from Queen’s University Belfast, SRUC, the Moredun Research Institute and SCOPS. Presentations covered how we can manage parasites under the threats of both climate change and emerging anthelmintic resistance and what these challenges will mean for farming with regards to meeting emissions targets.

This session nicely set up a talk by David Ewing on the second day in the session titled “Climate Change and Endemic Disease” sponsored by the BBSRC, where he discussed the results of the BBSRC-funded project “An Integrated Livestock Control Framework for Ruminants”. In this talk David presented a whole farm systems level mathematical model of gastrointestinal nematode transmission aimed at understanding the impacts of novel sustainable parasite control strategies, such as targeting anti-parasiticide treatment at individual lambs rather than applying whole flock treatments. These results were discussed in the context of other findings from the project around barriers to uptake of sustainable control measures for farmers. This work involved contributions from Lee Benson, Giles Innocent and David Ewing at BioSS and was led by the University of Liverpool with collaborating partners from SRUC, the Moredun Research Institute, Queen’s University Belfast, Paul Crawford Veterinary Services and Animal Health and Welfare NI. We are also grateful to the farmers, vets and SQPs that took part in the focus groups. Full details of David’s presentation can be found here.