Bovine udder health in Switzerland is of a relatively high level. However, antimicrobial usage (AMU) seems high in comparison to other European countries also. A new udder health and AMU improvement program could improve this situation but it is uncertain whether there is support from the field. This study aimed to quantify preferences of dairy farmers and veterinarians for the start and design characteristics of a new national udder health and AMU improvement program in Switzerland. A total of 478 dairy farmers and 98 veterinarians completed an online questionnaire. Questions on their demographics and their mindset toward AMU were complemented with an adaptive choice-based conjoint interview, a novel conjoint analysis technique to quantify preferences of respondents for characteristics of a product for which multiple trade-off decisions must be made (here a bovine udder health and AMU improvement program). The conjoint analysis was followed by a multivariate multiple regression analysis to identify groups of respondents with different program design preferences. Logistic regression models were used to associate covariates with respondents' preference to start a new udder health and AMU improvement program. Most farmers (55%) and veterinarians (62%) were in favor of starting a new voluntary udder health and AMU improvement program, but the program design preferences agreed moderately between the two stakeholder groups. Farmers preferred an udder health and AMU improvement program that did not contain a penalty system for high AMU, was voluntary for all dairy herds, and aimed to simultaneously improve udder health and reduce AMU. Veterinarians preferred a program that had the veterinary organization and the government taking the lead in program design decision making, did not contain a penalty system for high AMU, and aimed to simultaneously improve udder health and reduce AMU. Differences between groups of farmers and veterinarians concerning their start preference were identified. Also, the magnitude of various program design preferences changed for farmers with different opinions toward AMU. The information obtained from this study may support the decision-making process and the communication to the field afterward, when discussing national strategies to improve udder health and AMU in Switzerland.
- Adaptive choice-based conjoint analysis
- Animal disease program
- Dairy cows
- Multivariate multiple regression
van den Borne, B. H. P., van Soest, F. J. S., Reist, M., & Hogeveen, H. (2017). Quantifying preferences of farmers and veterinarians for national animal health programs: The example of bovine mastitis and antimicrobial usage in Switzerland. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 4(JUN), . https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2017.00082