Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Participatory policy making by dairy producers to reduce anti-microbial use on farms.

Abstract

Pressures for more responsible use of anti-microbial (AM) medicines in food animals are likely to increase from policymakers and the food industry, including retailers. To address this challenge, participatory approaches to welfare interventions and disease prevention may also be necessary alongside more conventional regulatory measures. This article describes the process of enabling groups of dairy producers to use a participatory policy making approach to develop an AM stewardship policy. The policy includes measures agreed to by all producers for more responsible use of AMs, whilst maintaining or improving dairy herd health and welfare. This process provided a unique opportunity for collaboration and dialogue between producers, veterinarians, industry and researchers. Its participatory nature encouraged comprehensive learning for all involved. This integration of science with producers' knowledge and experience led to credible and practical recommendations designed to deliver real and lasting change in AM use. The multidisciplinary nature of this research marks a significant contribution to embedding social science skills and approaches into the veterinary sphere. As an initial step in creating better understanding of how participatory approaches with farmers can be applied in a UK context and more widely, this work serves as a pilot for promoting more responsible use of veterinary medicines in other livestock species.