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An examination of current attitudes towards wildlife and disease transmission within the Scottish farming community

Fraser, Mary; Girling, S J; Innes, E A


Mary Fraser

S J Girling

E A Innes


Agriculture and wildlife live together in our countryside and disease transmission occurs between them. For farmers this can represent an economical loss as well as animal welfare issues. The aim was to evaluate the views of farmers/smallholders in Scotland to disease transmission from wildlife. 52 questionnaires were completed by 41 farmers and 11 smallholders. 34/52 thought wildlife was an important source of disease with bovine tuberculosis (14/52), Johne’s disease (9/52) and liver fluke (8/52) mentioned most commonly. However toxoplasmosis, Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus, Louping ill, cryptosporidiosis, foot and mouth disease and leptospirosis were also thought to be associated with wildlife. 44/52 thought that wildlife numbers should be controlled, with badgers (26/52), foxes (24/52), rabbits (20/52) and deer (18/52) predominating. However, it was clear that farmers recognise the importance of wildlife – comments such as ’want to control (wildlife), not eradicate; need a balance; only control enough to ensure other wild species (e.g. lapwings) can thrive.’ This research makes it clear that animal keepers in Scotland are concerned about TB, despite Scotland being currently free of this disease. They also recognise the role that wildlife can play in the dissemination of disease (e.g. Johne’s). This study highlights the importance of working alongside farmers/smallholders when deciding on wildlife related matters to ensure that wildlife can thrive alongside agriculture.

Conference Name European Wildlife Disease Association Annual Conference
Start Date Aug 25, 2014
End Date Aug 29, 2014
Publication Date 2014-08
Deposit Date Apr 29, 2015
Publicly Available Date Apr 29, 2015
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Disease transmission; animal welfare; agriculture; wildlife; farmers; smallholders;
Public URL
Contract Date Apr 29, 2015


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