This study presents British farmers’ perception of, and barriers to, implementing Salmonella control on pig farms. Four farms that had implemented interventions and their 33 close contacts (known to the intervention farmers) took part in interviews before (phase 1) and after (phase 2) intervention trials to assess the difference in perception over time. Their results were compared against those from nine randomly selected control farms. The hypothesis was that farms implementing interventions whether or not successful, would influence their close contacts’ opinion over time. Based on a ‘pathway to disease control’ model, three intrinsic factors known to influence motivation – attitudes, social norms and self-efficacy – were evaluated. Farmers mentioned that successful interventions on a farm would attract their attention. The use of an appropriate communication strategy is therefore recommended to stimulate farmers’ intent to implement control measures. Both before and after the intervention trials, all farmers had a positive attitude towards Salmonella control and felt that their peers and authorities were supportive of controlling Salmonella on farms. In phase 2, however, farmers were more likely to want to share the burden of control with other stakeholders along the food chain and their belief in self-efficacy had weakened. Whilst social norms were not associated with an intention to take action on control, a positive attitude towards Salmonella control and a belief in self-efficacy were more likely to result in an intent to control. In phase 2, farmers with an intent to implement an intervention appeared to have a greater, but not significant positive belief in self-efficacy (p = 0.108). This study confirmed that farmers recognised their responsibility for controlling Salmonella in pork – even though their confidence in their ability to control Salmonella decreased over time – and believed that responsibility should be shared with the rest of the production chain. It showed that farmers trusted their veterinarian as a source of advice to guide them during the process of implementing change, though an increase in farms’ Salmonella seroprevalence score (Zoonosis National Control Programme (ZNCP) score) especially for those with a low ZNCP score was also likely to influence their behaviour. Getting concrete feedback from customers or a tangible benefit from their action was a strong incentive especially for farms with a ZNCP score higher than 50%. The study also revealed a need to validate which measures are effective as farmers did not perceive that the current advised interventions were worth the additional effort.
- Disease control
- Social epidemiology