The transmission of infectious diseases of livestock does not differ in principle from disease transmission in any other animals, apart from that the aim of control is ultimately economic, with the influence of social, political and welfare constraints often poorly defined. Modelling of livestock diseases suffers simultaneously from a wealth and a lack of data. On the one hand, the ability to conduct transmission experiments, detailed within-host studies and track individual animals between geocoded locations make livestock diseases a particularly rich potential source of realistic data for illuminating biological mechanisms of transmission and conducting explicit analyses of contact networks. On the other hand, scarcity of funding, as compared to human diseases, often results in incomplete and partial data for many livestock diseases and regions of the world. In this overview of challenges in livestock disease modelling, we highlight eight areas unique to livestock that, if addressed, would mark major progress in the area.