Journal Article


Michael L Doherty
Luke O'Grady
Simon J More
Paul Whyte
Lisa Moran
Áine Macken-Walsh
Conor G McAloon


Agriculture & Food Science

qualitative research methods cattle irish best practice johne s disease mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis disease management prevention and control qualitative research approach

Johne's disease in the eyes of Irish cattle farmers: A qualitative narrative research approach to understanding implications for disease management. (2016)

Abstract Bovine Johne's Disease (JD) is a disease characterised by chronic granulomatous enteritis which manifests clinically as a protein-losing enteropathy causing diarrhoea, hypoproteinaemia, emaciation and, eventually death. Some research exists to suggest that the aetiologic pathogen Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis may pose a zoonotic risk. Nationally coordinated control programmes have been introduced in many of the major milk producing countries across the world. However, JD is challenging to control in infected herds owing to limitations of diagnostic tests and the long incubation period of the disease. Internationally, research increasingly recognises that improved understanding of farmers' subjective views and behaviours may inform and enhance disease management strategies and support the identification and implementation of best practice at farm level. The aim of this study was to use qualitative research methods to explore the values and knowledges of farmers relative to the control of JD at farm level. The Biographical Narrative Interpretive Method (BNIM) was used to generate data from both infected and presumed uninfected farms in Ireland. Qualitative analysis revealed that cultural and social capital informed farmers' decisions on whether to introduce control and preventive measures. Cultural capital refers to the pride and esteem farmers associate with particular objects and actions whereas social capital is the value that farmers associate with social relationships with others. On-farm controls were often evaluated by farmers as impractical and were frequently at odds with farmers' knowledge of calf management. Knowledge from farmers of infected herds did not disseminate among peer farmers. Owners of herds believed to be uninfected expressed a view that controls and preventive measures were not worthy of adoption until there was clear evidence of JD in the herd. These findings highlight important barriers and potential aids to prevention and control in both infected and uninfected herds.
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Full list of authors on original publication

Michael L Doherty, Luke O'Grady, Simon J More, Paul Whyte, Lisa Moran, Áine Macken-Walsh, Conor G McAloon

Experts in our system

Michael L. Doherty
Total Publications: 119
Luke O'Grady
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 54
S J More
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 213
P Whyte
Total Publications: 84
Conor G McAloon
University College Dublin
Total Publications: 18