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Farmers' willingness to pay for measures to reduce lameness

R. M. Bennett, Z. E. Barker, D. C. J. Main, H. R. Whay, K. A. Leach

LAMENESS causes considerable pain in cows, is a major reason for premature culling, may reduce milk yield and increase the costs associated with veterinary visits and farmers' time. The ‘choice experiment’ method is an economic tool designed to gauge peoples' willingness to pay for things such as reductions in disease incidence. This study aimed to assess, using a choice experiment, the value that dairy farmers in England and Wales place on reducing lameness by estimating their willingness to pay to reduce lameness in their herds.

The study involved face-to-face interviews with 140 farmers based on a questionnaire. This included a choice experiment exercise, in which the farmers were presented with different sets of scenarios that included potential changes in different lameness prevalences and corresponding costs/savings, from which they had to choose one scenario. Information was also collected about lameness prevalence in the farmers' herds, the farmers themselves and their perceptions of lameness in their herds.

The results of the choice experiment indicated that farmers were willing to pay a mean of £85 per cow for every cow in the herd to eliminate lameness from the herd altogether; when the …

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