Our Sustainable Food Systems group focuses on problems associated with different types of farming systems across livestock species. The Research Group is led by Dr Barbara Haesler.

RVC researchers work with welfare scientists, economists and sociologists and focus on increasing economic and welfare resilience by prioritising research into diseases and conditions that threaten reproduction, productivity, food security and public health. They are also in regular contact with farmers, breeders and industry groups.

They work on problems including:

  • Infertility in dairy cows
  • Bovine tuberculosis
  • Johne’s disease
  • Bovine viral diarrhoea
  • Avian coccidiosis
  • Porcine respiratory disease
  • Porcine multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS)

They also work on research areas such as:        

The College, in collaboration with University of London Worldwide, offers a part-time, distance learning course in Livestock Health and Production which has led to the development of short courses and programmes designed to develop the skills and knowledge of those working in the agri-food industry.

Projects such as the Dairy-Co consortium (led by Nottingham) integrate knowledge of dairy calf rearing, disease control and welfare indicators in calves, and allow the collection and analyses of national data.

The availability on-site of a controlled environment facility allows RVC scientists to translate data from the field and laboratory to re-create accurate in vivo models in pigs and poultry for the study of socio-economic, genetics/breeding and welfare impacts of diseases and syndromes. Recent and ongoing projects include work on PMWS, porcine circovirus 2, swine influenza, Mycoplasma species and avian coccidiosis.

Useful links to related programmes outside of RVC:

IMMANA (Innovative Metrics and Methods for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions): is a new five-year research initiative funded by the Department of International Development (DFID). The aim of IMMANA is to develop robust scientific evidence guiding changes in global agriculture to feed the world’s population projected to hit nine billion by 2050 in a way that is both healthy and sustainable.  The IMMANA collaboration is coordinated by the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH) and includes leading experts from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; SOAS, University of London; and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston (USA).

Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH): The aim of LCIRAH is to better address complex global issues surrounding the need to feed nine billion people healthily by 2050

Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA): LANSA is a new international research partnership. They are finding out how agriculture and agri-food systems can be better designed to advance nutrition. They are focused on policies, interventions and strategies that can improve the nutritional status of children in South Asia.  

Zoonoses and Emerging Livestock Systems (ZELS):  ZELS is a joint research initiative between the Department for International Development (DFID) and:

  • Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
  • Economic and Social Sciences Research Council (ESRC)
  • Medical Research Council (MRC)
  • Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)

Its aim is to make a step change in the research evidence available to inform decision makers on how to minimise the health risks associated with the rapidly changing nature of livestock systems in developing countries, focusing on those risks which impact on the livelihoods and health of poor people.

People in this Research Group

Dr Richard Booth

Associate Professor in Veterinary Extension Services and Infectious Diseases of Cattle
+44 (0)1707 666333

Farm Animal Health and Production Group, Hawkshead

Top of page