Knowledge, behaviour and attitudes of Scottish dairy farmers toward antimicrobial usage and resistance

Borelli, Elena (2024) Knowledge, behaviour and attitudes of Scottish dairy farmers toward antimicrobial usage and resistance. MVM(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is considered one of the most relevant global health threats. Understanding how farmers use antimicrobials and their awareness and beliefs about AMR is essential to improve antimicrobial usage (AMU) at the farm level. A cross-sectional online survey was carried out to explore Scottish dairy farmers’ knowledge about the meaning of AMR and antimicrobial activity, behaviour and practices related to farm AMU and attitudes towards AMR mitigation. The second aim of this research was to identify the factors affecting the attitude, knowledge and behaviour of dairy producers regarding AMR and prudent AMU. An online survey was disseminated via multiple ways (e.g., social media; farming press). The target population was all Scottish dairy farmers (n = 832). Participation was voluntary and answers were obtained from 61 respondents (7.3% of the target population). Regression analyses were performed to identify predictors for farmers’ level of knowledge about antimicrobials and AMR, AMU behaviour and attitudes towards AMR mitigation. Knowledge of AMR and antimicrobials was variable among participants. Greater knowledge was associated with holding a university degree (OR=28.28, P<0.001), working with mixed livestock (OR=4.82, P<0.05), and trusting only veterinarians’ information about responsible AMU (OR=4.42, P<0.05). Indeed, veterinarians were overall described as the most important source of reliable information and the most influencing advisors on AMU. Many farmers (90%) self-reported a decreased AMU over recent years. In the survey disease scenarios, greater AMU was associated with younger age (OR=0.18, P<0.05) and working in large herds (OR=0.12, P<0.01). Despite the majority (89%) agreeing on the importance of reducing AMU on dairy farms, only 52% acknowledged that AMU on UK dairy farms is currently too high. Respondents were more likely to show positive attitudes towards AMR mitigation if they worked in larger (OR=4.67, P<0.05) or organic dairy farms (OR=18.35, P<0.05). These results indicate that dairy farmers are aware of AMR and have recently reduced their farm AMU. However, more work is needed to improve their attitudes and responsibility to fight AMR. Many social, demographic, and economic factors influencing farmers’ practices and intentions were identified in this study. Advisors should consider these factors when implementing behavioural change programs on farms.

Item Type: Thesis (MVM(R))
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Supported by funding from Lidl.
Subjects: S Agriculture > SF Animal culture > SF600 Veterinary Medicine
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Supervisor's Name: Hotchkiss, Dr. Emily
Date of Award: 2024
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2024-84270
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2024 14:58
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2024 14:58
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.84270
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