Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

On-farm biosecurity in livestock production: farmer behaviour, cultural identities and practices of care.

Abstract

Definitions of biosecurity typically include generalised statements about how biosecurity risks on farms should be managed and contained. However, in reality, on-farm biosecurity practices are uneven and transfer differently between social groups, geographical scales and agricultural commodity chains. This paper reviews social science studies that examine on-farm biosecurity for animal health. We first review behavioural and psychosocial models of individual farmer behaviour/decisions. Behavioural approaches are prominent in biosecurity policy but have limitations because of a focus on individual farmer behaviour and intentions. We then review geographical and rural sociological work that emphasises social and cultural structures, contexts and norms that guide disease behaviour. Socio-cultural approaches have the capacity to extend the more commonly applied behavioural approaches and contribute to the better formulation of biosecurity policy and on-farm practice. This includes strengthening our understanding of 'good farming' identity, tacit knowledge, farmer influence networks, and reformulating biosecurity as localised practices of care. Recognising on-farm biosecurity as practices of biosecure farming care offers a new way of engaging, motivating and encouraging farmers to manage and contain diseases on farm. This is critical given government intentions to devolve biosecurity governance to the farming industry.