Willingness to adopt personal biosecurity strategies on thoroughbred breeding farms: Findings from a multi-site pilot study in Australia's Hunter Valley

Thompson, Kirrilly, Taylor, Joanne, Mendez, Diana, Chicken, Catherine, Carrick, Joan, and Durrheim, David N. (2022) Willingness to adopt personal biosecurity strategies on thoroughbred breeding farms: Findings from a multi-site pilot study in Australia's Hunter Valley. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 9. 1017452.

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There are almost 9,500 full-time employees in Australia's thoroughbred horse breeding industry. During foaling, they can be exposed to bodily fluids and mucous membranes which may present risks for zoonotic disease. These risks can be mitigated through personal biosecurity strategies. The aim of this study was to identify which personal biosecurity strategies were more or less likely to be adopted by workers. Seventeen participants representing 14 thoroughbred breeding farms and three equine veterinary practices in Australia's largest thoroughbred breeding region trialed up to 16 stakeholder-nominated personal biosecurity strategies over the 2021 foaling season. The strategies encompassed personal protective equipment (PPE), zoonotic disease awareness, policies and protocols, supportive environments, and leadership. Strategy adoption was monitored through three repeated self-audit surveys designed around the Transtheoretical Model of change (TTM) and findings were reviewed in exit interviews. For all survey waves in aggregate, 13 strategies were practiced by at least 50.0% of participants. Participants were most likely to use a ready-made foaling box (98.0%), communicate the message that PPE usage is a personal responsibility (94.1%) and use ready-made PPE kits (88.2%). However, 31.4% had no intention of doing practice sessions and/or dummy runs for PPE use and 27.5% had no intention of using a buddy system on farm/practice to check use of PPE. Whilst these rates indicate workers' willingness to adopt and maintain personal biosecurity strategies, they also indicate capacity for more practices to be implemented more often. Overall, the findings highlight the need for personal biosecurity interventions to be sensitive to the demands of the annual thoroughbred breeding calendar, the size of the breeding operation and the availability of skilled staff.

Item ID: 77534
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2297-1769
Keywords: behavior change, biosecurity, equine, infection control, personal biosecurity, thoroughbred, Transtheoretical, zoonotic disease
Copyright Information: © 2022 Thompson, Taylor, Mendez, Chicken, Carrick and Durrheim. This is an openaccess article distributed under the terms of the Creative CommonsAttribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2023 06:08
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420699 Public health not elsewhere classified @ 70%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3003 Animal production > 300399 Animal production not elsewhere classified @ 30%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2005 Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) > 200507 Occupational health @ 35%
10 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 1004 Livestock raising > 100406 Horses @ 30%
20 HEALTH > 2004 Public health (excl. specific population health) > 200499 Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified @ 35%
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