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Enhancement of remote area surveillance systems throughout Australia

Australia's claims of freedom from a variety of livestock diseases (notably World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) List A diseases), and also our ability for early detection of incursions of exotic disease, are dependent on a reliable disease reporting system. It is fundamentally important for each of these purposes that there is recognition of as many occurrences of disease of all sorts as possible. This includes endemic diseases and production limiting diseases as well as occurrences of suspected exotic disease. In order to achieve this level of reporting, participation by producers is needed. 

This project is aimed at providing a better understanding of the factors involved in engaging produces in disease surveillance. The project is a part of a broader AB-CRC activity in this area. Biosecurity is fundamentally a social activity as it involves individuals and communities, and decisions that they make regarding livestock management. Thus a social science perspective ensures a holistic approach to bio-security. Disease managers have recently begun to focus attention on the on the social and cultural dimensions of animal health practices. A broader understanding of cultural factors such as perceptions of risk and threat; rules of social interaction; appropriate communication; relationships; acceptable farming practices; issues of stigmatization; economic motivations and individual factors by both producers and researchers is very important. 

The key observations and conclusions of this project are: 

1. Produces are still predominately male third-generation farm owners, 

2. There is a high level of access to information technology, 

3. Frequently deaths not reported and veterinarians not consulted even in the face of uncertainty, 

4. The hands-on manages of livestock often than not willing or able to access computers for a variety of genuine reasons, 

5. Produces have a genuine interest in participatory surveillance, 

6. There was strong enthusiasm and response to field workshops where autopsy processes were demonstrated, 

7. There is a clear lack of trust of government disease managers, 

 8. The lack of trust in government disease managers, together with overconfidence in farmer disease diagnosis may be cause for concern.

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643.3KB 23/10/2008

This page was last updated on 24/07/2017

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