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Perceptions of Australian cattle farmers regarding the impact of pinkeye on farm productivity and animal welfare

Kneipp, M., Green, A.C., Govendir, M., Laurence, M.ORCID: 0000-0003-1215-2848 and Dhand, N.K. (2022) Perceptions of Australian cattle farmers regarding the impact of pinkeye on farm productivity and animal welfare. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 204 . Art. 105665.

Link to Published Version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prevetmed.2022.105665
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Abstract

Pinkeye (infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis, IBK) is an important disease of cattle worldwide. It has a substantial negative impact on farm productivity and is a major cost burden, but specific data on losses are lacking. This study was conducted to understand farmers’ perceptions of the impact of pinkeye on farm productivity and animal welfare, and factors influencing the money farmers estimated spending on pinkeye in 2018. Data were collected by the first Australia-wide online survey on pinkeye. There were 1035 suitable responses analysed for impact on farm productivity. From these 82% of respondents represented farms in southern Australia, 58% reported cattle breeding as their main enterprise, and 89% bred animals on farm. Farmers were more likely to rank the impact of pinkeye on farm productivity as high if they had younger cattle, treated cattle with pinkeye more frequently, and as their herd size increased. Fewer farmers chose pinkeye as an animal welfare concern than as an economic and farm management issue, but overall animal welfare was rated by the greatest number of farmers as a high severity concern (n = 691), followed by decreased sale value and farm profits (n = 561). This suggests a shift in the equipoise between the economics of food animal production and animal welfare expectations. The median amount reportedly spent on pinkeye in 2018 by Australian farmers (n = 779) was $250.00 per farm. Farmers reported spending more money on pinkeye as herd size and number of cattle affected by pinkeye increased, their perception of pinkeye impact on farm productivity and animal welfare increased, if they treated pinkeye more frequently, reported higher fly worry, if their herds contained Angus cattle, if they bred on farm, and if they were located in southern Australian regions. Study findings should be used to better understand pinkeye, target expenditure, and improve outcomes for cattle and farmers.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Veterinary Medicine
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Copyright: © 2022 Elsevier B.V.
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/64994
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