Scenario planning: The future of the cattle and sheep industries in Scotland and their resiliency to disease

LA Boden, HK Auty, P Bessell, D Duckett, J Liu, C Kyle, A McKee, L-A Sutherland, J Reynolds, BMdeC Bronsvoort, IJ McKendrick

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In this paper, we present a description of foresighting activities undertaken by EPIC, Scotland’s Centre of Expertise on Animal Disease Outbreaks, to investigate the future uncertainty of animal healthsecurity in the Scottish sheep and cattle sectors. Using scenario planning methodologies, we explored four plausible but provocative long-term futures which identify dynamics underpinning the resilience of these agricultural sectors to animal disease. These scenarios highlight a number of important driversthat influence disease resilience: industry demographics, the role of government support and regulation and the capacity for technological innovation to support the industry to meet local and global market demand. Participants in the scenario planning exercises proposed creative, robust strategies that policymakers could consider implementing now to enhance disease control and industry resilience in multiple,uncertain futures. Using these participant-led strategies as a starting point, we offer ten key questions for policy makers and stakeholders to provoke further discussion about improving resiliency and disease preparedness. We conclude with a brief discussion of the value of scenario planning, not only for thedevelopment of futures which will inform disease contingency plans and improve industry resilience,but as a mechanism for dialogue and information sharing between stakeholders and government.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353 - 364
Number of pages12
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Issue number3-4
Publication statusFirst published - 22 Aug 2015

Bibliographical note



  • Animal disease
  • Animal health
  • Contingency planning
  • Futures
  • Livestock
  • Resiliency
  • Scenarios


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