Pig, cattle and poultry farmers with a known interest in research have comparable perspectives on disease prevention and on-farm biosecurity.Prev Vet Med. 2014 Jul 01; 115(1-2):1-9.PV
To motivate farmers for the implementation of preventive measures for animal health, it is crucial to understand their perspective on disease prevention and on-farm biosecurity. To study this, an online questionnaire was conducted in which 218 pig, 279 cattle and 61 poultry farmers in Flanders, Belgium have participated. The participants are farmers known for their interest in research and are therefore probably better informed on these topics. Although approximately half of the respondents in all three sectors are convinced of the positive effect of biosecurity on reduction of diseases at their farms, the farmers estimated their own level of knowledge on biosecurity as being rather low. Less than 10% of the farmers in all three sectors were able to give a correct explanation of the term 'biosecurity', even though the participants are likely to be better informed than the average farmer. In general, pig, cattle and poultry farmers share comparable ideas on disease prevention and biosecurity. Cattle farmers perceived animal welfare as more important. Pig farmers indicated stability of the farm more important than farmers in the other sectors. Farmers indicate that little to no barriers are present for taking preventive measures. The often observed absence or limited implementation of biosecurity and disease prevention measures is therefore likely due to insufficient motivation. Across the species, farmers indicate that insufficient information on costs and especially revenues is a major holdback for investments in preventive measures. Not surprisingly, more information on the economic benefits of measures is indicated as the primary interest for taking measures in disease prevention. The veterinarian is seen as the main source of information concerning disease prevention and biosecurity, so it is important that veterinarians have sufficient knowledge on these topics and are able to communicate this to farmers. Especially since farmers indicate that receiving more explanation by the herd veterinarian increases their interest substantially in disease prevention.