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Title: Accounting for the social impacts of animal disease : the case of bovine tuberculosis
Author: Crimes, Delyth Mary
ISNI:       0000 0004 5351 4611
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2014
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Bovine Tuberculosis (bTb) continues to cause turmoil for farmers and their businesses where farmers have endured the impact of the disease for extensive periods of time such is the longevity of the problem. Connections between animal disease and its social impact on humans were recognised widely during the outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in 2001. However, despite the apparent impact of bTB on farmers and the rural community, there are few studies that seek to explore and measure these social impacts. The aim of this study is to investigate problems associated with the social impacts of bTB on farmers where levels of personal well-being and farmer’s productivity are measured to establish their quality of life and its relationship with bTB. A conceptual framework was drawn up to capture the themes rising from the literature review considered as vital in establishing the social effects of bTB. This framework was used as the basis in developing a mixed methods structure to the research. This approach combined qualitative interviews and participant observation over a longitudinal time frame of eighteen months with farmers and a quantitative postal survey of a sample of farmers across Wales. The qualitative interviews were undertaken with farmers on sixteen farms within four high risk disease areas in Wales. Its aim was to understand the meaning of well-being to farmers and to identify key factors which influence it and their quality of life. The effects of bTB testing on farmers is observed alongside establishing how farmers have managed with bTB and what coping strategies they have adopted both personally and as part of their working lives. A key aim of the quantitative methodology was to establish levels of personal well-being and productivity amongst farmers using recognised scales, to explore what significant pressures affect farmers on their farms and acquire their attitudes to bTB. In qualitative interviews, farmers identified health, happiness, having a sense of worth with respect from others, and having the freedom to farm in their own right as central components to their well-being. Negative influences on well-being were recognised as the weather, red tape and bureaucracy, financial and aspects which causes pressures relative to farm management. In qualitative interviews, farmers linked the impacts of bTB with perceived poor well-being and described various coping strategies to avoid the consequences of bTB. However, survey data found that farmers with bTB were not statistically significantly more likely to have lower well-being than farmers without bTB. Farmers’ well-being appears to be connected to their trust in the Welsh Government; farmers’ perceived ability to control bTB; and their trust in others (such as vets) to help them avoid bTB. The research therefore presents a new perspective of the extent of the social impacts arising from bTB. Where other studies have indicated a relationship between the well-being of farmers and bTB, the results in this research question the extent to which these impacts exist.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: H Social Sciences (General)