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Assessing the Social and Psychological Impacts of Endemic Animal Disease Amongst Farmers

By Delyth Crimes, Gareth Enticott

Category Journal Articles

Outbreaks of exotic animal disease, such as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) are
associated with social and psychological impacts amongst farmers. Whilst claims of
similar impacts for endemic diseases have been made, there is little empirical evidence
to justify these assertions. This paper provides a descriptive analysis of the social and
psychological impacts of bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) in Wales. Specifically, the paper
focuses on farmers subjective well-being and presenteeism—their propensity to work
suboptimally when suffering mental health problems. Results from longitudinal qualitative
interviews with 16 beef and dairy farmers reveal how they derive satisfaction from their
work and their emotional connection to animals, whilst the weather and red tape aremost
likely to affect their quality of life. Data froma postal survey (n=582) using threemeasures
of SWB, however, finds mixed evidence that animal disease is associated with farmer
well-being. For all farmers surveyed, there were no significant differences in well-being
between farms with and without bTB. For those farms in areas with high bTB prevalence,
two of the three measures of subjective well-being showed lower levels of well-being for
farmers with a history of bTB (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the paper discusses the policy and
methodological implications for future studies of farmer well-being and animal disease.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2019
Publication Title Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume 6
Pages 13
DOI 10.3389/fvets.2019.00342
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal diseases
  2. Animal roles
  3. bovine diseases
  4. Farm animals
  5. Food animals
  6. open access
  7. Psychiatry and psychology
  8. social impact
  9. Tuberculosis
  1. open access