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David Speksnijder

Tuesday 25 April 2017

Antibiotic use in farm animals: supporting behavioural change of veterinarians and farmers

Promotor: prof.dr. J.A. (Jaap) Wagenaar & prof.dr. Th.J.M. (Theo) Verheij
Date: 25 April 2017
Time: 16.15 h

In this thesis, we have studied perceived reasons for a high use of antibiotics in livestock farming according to farm animal veterinarians. According to these veterinarians, many animal diseases can potentially be prevented by implementing proper management measures. Veterinarians often advise farmers on measures to prevent animal diseases. These advices are however not always implemented by farmers due to several reasons. An important reason is that a farmers may perceive the implementation of these advices as too expensive or too time consuming. Regularly, a veterinarian does not seem to be able to explain the importance of implementing his or her advice to a farmer. Another reason for not implementing veterinary advices can be conflicting advices of other non-veterinary advisors. Also risk aversive behaviour plays an important role. When in doubt, veterinarians tend to prescribe or apply antibiotics to prevent complications after non-prescribing. At the one hand, veterinarians want to prevent suffering of an animal, at the other hand, they also aspire for satisfying their clients who may demand for antibiotic treatments.
In a field trial, we have studied the effects of a structured collaboration in animal health planning between farmers, veterinarians and feed advisors. These persons in a collaborative effort developed a structured animal health improvement program, tailored to the farmís unique situation and under guidance of a professional facilitator in order to prevent animal diseases and lower antibiotic use. A good collaboration tended to have positive effects on animal health and seemed to enable a reduction in antibiotic use without adverse effects on animal health and productivity.