New York State dairy farmers’ perceptions of antibiotic use and resistance: A qualitative interview study
Conventional dairy farmers had a low level of concern about the possible impacts of on-farm antibiotic resistance on human health and believed their antibiotic use was already judicious. Generally, they believed their cattle’s health would suffer if antibiotic use were further curtailed. Conventional farmers expressed frustration over the possibility of more stringent governmental, milk cooperative, buyer, or marketer requirements for antibiotic use and associated animal welfare in the future. They attributed expanding regulations in part to misinformed consumer preferences, that farmers felt were influenced by the marketing of organic dairy products. Organic dairy farmers were generally more concerned about issues related to antibiotic resistance than conventional farmers. Both conventional and organic farmers placed emphasis on disease prevention through herd health management rather than treatment. In conclusion, the conventional NYS dairy farmers in this study were skeptical of the need for and benefits of reduced antibiotic use on their dairy farms. Interventions for farmers, delivered by a trusted source such as a veterinarian, that provide training about proper antibiotic use practices and information of possible financial benefits of refining antibiotic use may hold promise.
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