Factors influencing pig farmers’ perceptions and attitudes towards antimicrobial use and resistance

Hollie Bradford, Claire McKernan, Christopher Elliott, Moira Dean

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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Antimicrobial resistance (AMR1) is of increasing concern in livestock production as usage has been linked to the emergence of resistant bacteria in humans. The intricacies of the UK pig production system alongside limited research into farmers’ perceptions has highlighted the need to investigate farmers’ perceptions and attitudes to gain an understanding of the factors that influence antimicrobial use (AMU2). Therefore, this study aimed to qualitatively explore pig farmers’ views of AMU, AMR, and to identify the specific factors that influence antibiotic administration practices in the UK pig industry.

Fifteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with independent pig farmers in Northern Ireland and vertically integrated pig farmers in England, eliciting perceptions towards AMU and AMR and exploring administration practices. The interviews were professionally transcribed and coded using thematic analysis.

At the outset, AMU practices were ascertained creating the first major theme: (1) current AMU practices. Three major themes were identified as influencing pig farmers’ practices and behaviour towards AMR: (2) awareness and attitudes towards AMR; (3) perceived alternatives to AMU and (4) barriers to changing current farming practices.

Our findings highlight the complexity of the UK pork industry and the myriad of factors that drive AMU. AMU in the pork sector is multifactorial as drivers of administration are diverse and differ between farms. Therefore, it is recommended that farms are assessed on an individual basis in collaboration with a veterinarian to determine the most effective tailor-made antibiotic reduction techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107569
Number of pages10
JournalPreventive veterinary medicine
Early online date12 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


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