Factors influencing Scottish dairy farmers’ antimicrobial usage, knowledge and attitude towards antimicrobial resistance

Borelli, E., Ellis, K., Pamphilis, N. M. , Tomlinson, M. and Hotchkiss, E. (2023) Factors influencing Scottish dairy farmers’ antimicrobial usage, knowledge and attitude towards antimicrobial resistance. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 221, 106073. (doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2023.106073) (PMID:37952280)

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Understanding how farmers use antimicrobials and their awareness and beliefs about antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is essential to improve antimicrobial usage (AMU) practices and combat AMR on dairy farms. A cross-sectional online survey was carried out to identify the factors affecting attitudes, knowledge and behaviour of Scottish dairy producers regarding prudent AMU and the emergence of AMR in livestock. The survey was designed based on the earlier findings of two focus groups and was disseminated online via multiple methods (e.g., social media; farming press). Participation was voluntary and answers were obtained from 61 respondents (7.3% of the total population of Scottish dairy farmers). Logistic and ordinal regression analyses were performed to identify predictors for farmers’ level of knowledge about antimicrobials and AMR, AMU behaviour and attitudes towards AMR mitigation. Associations were described with odds ratios (OR) and the associated 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Farmers were more likely to have better knowledge of antimicrobials and AMR if they had undertaken a university degree (OR = 28.28, P < 0.001), worked with mixed livestock (dairy plus sheep/beef) (OR = 4.82, P < 0.05), and trusted only veterinarians’ information about responsible AMU (OR = 4.42, P < 0.05). In the survey disease scenarios, younger farmers were less likely to be classed as low antimicrobial users (OR = 0.18, P < 0.05) compared to older farmers. Respondents working on larger herds were also less likely to be low antimicrobial users compared to those working on smaller herds (OR = 0.12, P < 0.01). Conversely, farmers who did not consider economic factors (e.g., cost and withdrawal period) in antimicrobial choice were more likely to be classed as low antimicrobial users (OR = 6.17, P < 0.01). 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 suggest that several practices, social, demographic, and economic factors influence dairy farmers’ perception and awareness of AMR and AMU. Efforts should be made to consider these variables when developing strategies to improve AMU in dairy farming. Veterinarians and advisors should focus AMU training and AMR awareness-raising activities towards younger, less experienced farmers as well as those with a lower educational qualification (high school vs. university degree). This study can inform the development of targeted educational initiatives to encourage responsible AMU on dairy farms.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The authors would like to thank Lidl for the part-funding of the project.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Tomlinson, Mr Martin and Hotchkiss, Dr Emily and Pamphilis, Dr Niccole and Borelli, Elena and Ellis, Dr Kathryn
Authors: Borelli, E., Ellis, K., Pamphilis, N. M., Tomlinson, M., and Hotchkiss, E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Journal Name:Preventive Veterinary Medicine
ISSN (Online):1873-1716
Published Online:09 November 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Authors
First Published:First published in Preventive Veterinary Medicine 221: 106073
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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