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Bovine viral diarrhoea eradication in the UK: attitudes to group helping and information sharing

C. Heffernan, L. Azbel-Jackson, J. Brownlie, G. Gunn

BOVINE viral diarrhoea (BVD) is endemic in the UK. Eradication requires a collective response; however, collective behaviour toward disease control is rare among farmers and previous studies have shown that livestock disease is largely perceived as an individual farmer problem. This study aimed to explore farmer attitudes to BVD control schemes and examine elements of group behaviour related to the success and failure of BVD control.

A questionnaire was distributed to 162 farmers (109 BVD control scheme members and 53 non-scheme members), to determine the strength and density of advice networks and information sharing, motivation for membership and attitudes toward regulation.

Survey responses indicated that animal health-related information was transferred via formal and informal networks among both scheme members and non-members. The majority of networks were comprised of neighbours. Other contacts included friends, family members and other farmers. There was no difference in the number of social contacts between scheme members and non-scheme members, but less than half the farmers reported having at least one social contact. Although …

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