Understanding drivers of how to improve producer-led passive surveillance among smallholder livestock producers in Australia

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review


Smallholder livestock producers are believed to pose higher risks for disease introduction and spread than commercial producers. One of the main reasons for this is an assumption that smallholders do not possess adequate level of knowledge of diseases, disease management and reporting. Knowledge is a key driver in influencing behaviour and is also a primary feature of passive disease surveillance. A cross-sectional study, using a postal survey (n=1140) and focus group discussions (n=28), was conducted to understand the animal health management and communication practices of smallholders keeping sheep, cattle, pigs, dairy goats and alpacas in Australia; practices that could influence the effectiveness of producer-led passive surveillance. Findings indicate that animal health management practices, such as contact with veterinarians and attitudes towards reporting could be improved, although over 80% of Smallholders actively seek information on the health of their livestock. Private veterinarians have a vital role in improving passive surveillance among these producers, given they are the first point of contact in the event of unusual signs of disease and are considered trusted sources of information. In addition, most smallholders would also contact other producers for disease advice, and are less likely to contact government agencies. Among smallholders, emergency animal diseases are not a priority; however, these producers are concerned about the health of their animals. Strategies for improving awareness of disease and disease reporting responsibilities, using private veterinarians and producers as key stakeholders of a producer-led system, could improve the effectiveness of on-farm passive surveillance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Animal Health Surveillance
PublisherNew Zealand Veterinary Association
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event3rd International Conference on Animal Health Surveillance - Novotel Rotorua Lakeside Hotel, Rotorua, New Zealand
Duration: 30 Apr 201704 May 2017
http://www.animalhealthsurveillance.org (Conference website)
http://www.animalhealthsurveillance.org/sites/default/files/domain-56/ICAHS3_programme_FINAL.pdf (conference program)


Conference3rd International Conference on Animal Health Surveillance
Abbreviated titleBeyond animal health surveillance
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
OtherAs with the previous conferences, ICAHS3 will focus on the interfaces between the science, policy and applications of health surveillance.
We intend to further emphasize integration of surveillance in the animal, human and environmental health domains. This requires input from multiple disciplines, including risk perception and communication, economics, quantitative analysis and modelling, information technology, and social sciences. Examples of topics include the growing concerns about antimicrobial resistance in human and animal populations; new diagnostic technologies, which are opening up exciting prospects for surveillance, whether it's in public health, animal health or the ecosystem domain; or the advent of 'big data', data mining and warehousing.
We aim to establish ICAHS as a recognised entity and a 'community' of professionals working in health surveillance. ICAHS has always aimed to be a small but high-quality and innovative conference which facilitates and encourages networking and exchange of ideas and experiences of like-minded health professionals. To this end, we hope to utilise current information and communication technologies and social media to facilitate discussion and collaborations before and after the conference itself.
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