The Social Context of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Control in Texas: Foundations for Effective Risk Communication
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The introduction of FMD into the US would have serious economic and societal effects on the livelihoods and sustainability of affected livestock producers. Livestock producers serve as an important line of defense in both detecting an introduction of FMD as well, helping to prevent disease spread. However, due to the complexity of moral, social, and economic issues surrounding the control of highly contagious diseases, producer cooperation during an outbreak may not be assured. This study was conducted using a mixed-methods approach, including qualitative analysis of interviews and quantitative analysis of a postal survey, in order to explore the factors likely to influence producer cooperation in FMD detection and control in Texas. Reporting of cattle with clinical signs of FMD in the absence of an outbreak was related to producers´ beliefs about the consequences of reporting, beliefs about what other producers would do, trust in agricultural agencies, and their perception of the risk posed by FMD. During a hypothetical outbreak, intentions to report were determined by beliefs about the consequences of reporting, and perception of the risk posed by FMD. Intentions to gather and hold cattle when requested during an outbreak were determined by beliefs about the consequences of gathering and holding, beliefs about barriers to gathering and holding, trust in other producers, and perception of the risk posed by FMD. Compliance with animal movement restrictions was determined by experiential attitudes, beliefs about the availability of feed, space, and disinfection procedures, beliefs about what other producers would do, and perception of the risk posed by FMD. Recommendations for improving producer cooperation include targeting specific beliefs in both planning and communication, increasing transparency in the post-reporting process, planning for and communicating plans for maintaining business continuity in order to better inform risk perception, and partnering with organizations to ensure sustained and meaningful communication that supports trust between producers within the affected agricultural community.
Subjectfoot and mouth disease
foreign animal disease
theory of planned behavior
Delgado, Amy Haley (2011). The Social Context of Foot-and-Mouth Disease Control in Texas: Foundations for Effective Risk Communication. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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