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Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine (IBME)

SNF Research Project 2022-2025: "Nutztiere im Anthropozän. Der Stall als Labor für One Health"

Project Description

The specialization and industrialization of animal production have created new diseases since the mid-20th century, known as production diseases. Now, no longer were epidemics the focus, but rather multifactorial, chronic disease patterns that manifested in reduced performance.

Content and objective of the research project

Inspired by classical laboratory studies, this research project examines the co-production of health and disease in the barn. The barn is not only a unique laboratory due to its hygiene conditions but also because it is inseparably integrated into production and reproduction. The three empirical sub-projects focus on the economically most important farm animals in Swiss agricultural production: cattle, pigs, and chickens. Looking at specific agricultural, agronomic, and veterinary practices in and around the respective barns, the sub-projects investigate how the increasingly specialized and intensified livestock farming was accompanied and promoted by a medicalization of animal bodies, the development of preventive veterinary medicine, and changes in breeding hygiene. The focus was not on the individual animal but on the collective animal - and with it, herd medicine.

Scientific and social context

The project makes a significant contribution both to the integration of veterinary medicine into medical history and to its connection with agricultural and environmental history. These bridges are scientifically and socially relevant because the health of humans, animals, and the environment are inseparably intertwined.


Im Projekt tätig sind Sara Müller,Beat Bächi und Henrik Jochum.


Link zur Projektskizze von Beat Bächi (PDF, 281 KB) (englisch)

Call for Papers, International Workshop (June 11-13, 2025) and Special Issue, Historicizing Farm Animals: Cowsheds, Battery Cages, and Pigsties as Laboratories for One Health (PDF, 122 KB)


Beat Bächi 2023: Geschichte in Gummistiefeln: Nutztierkörper, in: Body Politics – Zeitschrift für Körpergeschichte 11, Heft 15, S. 5-13.

Beat Bächi 2023: Nutztiere im Anthropozän. Zur Produktion von Gesundheit und Krankheit im Schweinestall, in: Body Politics – Zeitschrift für Körpergeschichte 11 (2023), Heft 15, S. 15-37