Exploring the social context of risk perception and behaviour: Farmers’ response to bovine tuberculosis

Naylor, Rhiannon and Courtney, Paul (2014) Exploring the social context of risk perception and behaviour: Farmers’ response to bovine tuberculosis. Geoforum, 57. pp. 48-56. ISSN 00167185

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Abstract

While agricultural risk and risk perception has received significant attention in the literature, few studies have explored the factors that influence the way farmers respond to particular risks. This paper uses the case of bovine tuberculosis (bTB), one of the most significant risks currently facing the English cattle farming industry, to explore these factors, with a particular focus on the role of social networks. A large scale postal survey distributed to beef and dairy farmers in the south west of England provides representative data which are subjected to factor and cluster analysis in order explore farmer views towards and responses to disease risk. Two groups of farmers are identified which can be distinguished from each other based on their attitudes towards bTB and the nature of their social networks. Farmers with wider, more externally focussed social networks are found to be more resilient than those whose social networks are restricted to family members and other farmers. However, while differences between the two groups are found in terms of their attitudes towards bTB, no differences are found in relation to their risk management behaviour, with few farmers taking clear action to reduce the risk of their herds contracting the disease. In order to address the identified disconnection between attitudes and behaviour, a number of potential interventions are put forward and discussed.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bovine tuberculosis; Farmers; Agricultural risk; Social networks; Attitudes; Behaviour
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Research Priority Areas: Environmental Dynamics & Governance
Depositing User: Paul Courtney
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2015 17:41
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2017 17:49
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/1219

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