In much of Africa, a herd of cattle is more than just cows. It’s a savings account, protein store, dowry, funeral fund, symbol of wealth, and hedge against drought. For many smallholder farmers, the loss of even a single cow to disease can spell ruin.
Yet a grievous number of cattle in sub-Saharan Africa get sick: one estimate puts annual losses from disease at $40 billion, some twenty-five percent of the total value of livestock production in the region.
John Barlow, professor of animal sciences at the University of Vermont, thinks the cows in the university’s research herd may be able to help.
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