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From the other perspective: Behavioural factors associated with UK sheep farmers’ attitudes towards antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance

Doidge, Charlotte; Lima, Eliana; Lovatt, Fiona; Hudson, Chris; Kaler, Jasmeet

From the other perspective: Behavioural factors associated with UK sheep farmers’ attitudes towards antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance Thumbnail


Eliana Lima

Clinical Associate Professor

Professor of Dairy Herd Health and Production

Professor of Epidemiology & Precision Livestock Informatics


Simon Clegg


Research suggests that many sheep farmers continue to carry out traditional antibiotic use practices despite new’good practice’ recommendations. The aim of this study was to group farmers depending on their attitudes around antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance, and determine the behaviours that are associated with the farmers in these groups. In 2017, a flock health survey was sent to British sheep farmers. K-means cluster analysis was used to identify groups of farmers with similar attitudes towards antibiotic use and resistance. A multivariable logistic regression model was built to determine the associations between farmers’ past behaviours and their antibiotic attitude group. There were 461 responses. Two groups of farmers were identified based on their antibiotic attitudes. Cluster 1 were defined as the "discordant" group who had positive views of using antibiotics prophylactically and negative views of reducing antibiotic use. Cluster 2 were defined as the "concordant" group who were positive about reducing antibiotic use and had negative views about using antibiotics prophylactically. Using antibiotics in all lambs (OR = 2.689, CI = 1.571, 4.603), using antibiotics in all ewes (OR = 3.388, CI = 1.318, 8.706), always trimming diseased feet over the past three years (OR = 2.487, CI = 1.459, 4.238), not using a computer to record information over the past three years (OR = 1.996, CI = 1.179, 3.381), not changing worming practices over the past three years (OR = 1.879, CI = 1.144, 3.087), and farmers’ perceptions that their sheep flock did not make a financial loss in the past three years (OR = 2.088, CI = 1.079, 4.040) were significantly associated with belonging to the discordant group. Talking to their veterinarian about antibiotic use or the frequency of veterinary visits were not associated with antibiotic attitude group. These results suggest that farmers who had attitudes relating to antibiotic use that did not align with current recommendations carried out more traditional practices, which were strengthened by their positive perceptions of profitability.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 27, 2021
Online Publication Date May 27, 2021
Publication Date May 1, 2021
Deposit Date Jan 9, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 12, 2022
Journal PLoS ONE
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 5
Article Number e0251439
Keywords General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; General Agricultural and Biological Sciences; General Medicine
Public URL
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