Article ID: CBB970713571

Swann Song: Antibiotic Regulation in British Livestock Production (1953–2006) (2018)


Antibiotics have played a significant yet ambivalent role in Western livestock husbandry. Mass introduced to agriculture to boost animal production and reduce feed consumption in the early 1950s, agricultural antibiotics were soon accused of selecting for bacterial resistance, causing residues and enabling bad animal welfare. The dilemma posed by agricultural antibiotic regulation persists to this day. This essay traces the history of British antibiotic regulation from 1953 to the influential 1969 Swann report. It highlights the role that individual experts using bacteriophage typing played in warning about the mass selection for bacterial resistance on farms and the response of a corporatist system, whose traditional laissez-faire arrangements struggled to cope with the risk posed by bacterial resistance. In addition to contextualizing the Swann report's origins, the essay also discusses the report's fate and implications for current antibiotic regulation.

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Authors & Contributors
Brassley, Paul
Tempír, Zdeněk
Kearnes, Matthew B.
Macnaghten, Phil
Wynne, Brian
Grove-White, Robin
Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society
Agricultural History
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Science as Culture
Minerva: A Review of Science, Learning and Policy
East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal
Monthly Review Press
Harvard University
Purdue University Press
Columbia University Press
Agricultural technology
Food science; food technology
Animal husbandry
Food industry and trade
Technology and society
Young, Arthur
Borlaug, Norman Ernest
Great Britain
United States
European Union
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
Rockefeller Foundation

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