This paper provides a longitudinal analysis of farmer confidence in badger vaccination. The paper is structured as follows: Introduce badger vaccination as a control method and what we know so far in terms of attitudes towards it; Summarise the theoretical framework developed for this paper; Outline the research methodology; and Present longitudinal analysis of farmers’ confidence in badger vaccination in different areas of England
Badger vaccination has been proposed as a method that can help reduce the spread of bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) from badgers to cattle. In England and Wales, badger vaccination has been deployed in a small-scale capacity, as part of government projects, by wildlife organisations, and farmers. The most high profile example of BV deployment is the BVDP. A badger vaccine was licensed in 2010 and was due to be administered in England through the BVDP. The BVDP was established to assess the practicalities of badger vaccination in six areas of England. Before the trial began, the new Coalition Government came into power and its scale was reduced to one area (Stroud). There are contrasting attitudes towards BV as a method to control bTB transmission. Governments argue that badger vaccination is costly, impractical on a large scale and lacks evidence of a reduction in cattle bTB incidence. Wildlife organisations argue that badger vaccination is socially acceptable, avoids protest associated with badger culling, and is supported by farmers. However, farmer views of badger vaccination are less well known. Previous research by Bennett and Cooke (2005) suggests farmers have a low level of support for badger vaccination. A more recent study, by Warren et al (2013) on the National Trust’s Killerton Estate, are more positive, suggesting that farmers would prefer a combination of culling with vaccination. The Warren et al study also suggests the way farmers think about badger vaccination is more nuanced than public debate about badger control suggests. Whilst useful, the study is based on a small sample of farm interviews (14 of 18 tenants). The Bennett and Cooke study, meanwhile, was undertaken before a badger vaccine was available. A detailed social science analysis of farmer attitudes to vaccination of badgers is therefore timely and much needed to inform bTB policy.
Our team has been undertaking a social science study of farmer confidence in badger vaccination since 2010. The aim is to establish levels of farmer confidence in the use of vaccination over time. The study is funded by Defra and accompanies the Badger Vaccination Deployment Project – started just before BV deployment in Stround. With TB policy changes in England, we are also tracking changes in levels of confidence in TB policy and Government (i.e. can’t examine BV in isolation to other control methods/wider policy). There is not much work on farmer confidence in vaccines for farmed animals. But there is work looking at farmers adoption of new technologies and their attitudes and trust towards government science. The key point is the suggestion that institutional trust is a central element to confidence in vaccines and farmers’ attitudes towards bTB more generally. We use this work on institutional trust, particularly work on environmental risks in the UK by environmental psychologists to frame our study (e.g. Poortinga and Pidgeon 2003, as well as work by Metlay and others).
We have adopted a mixed methods approach (Sayer, 1989), combining extensive (tel survey) data with intensive (qualitative, face-to-face interview) data. The table summarises the process over time: We started in 2010 with a telephone survey to provide a baseline assessment of farmer confidence. This survey was carried out around the time the BVDP was starting (Aug-Oct 2010). We surveyed 339 farmers in 5 areas Farmers scored a series of confidence statements. We have completed three rounds of repeat interviews (from 2011 to 2013), with a sub-set of farmers from the tel survey in 3 of the 5 areas. Started with 65 farmers in 2011; 56 in 2012 ; 50 in 2013. We have therefore had some attrition but relatively minor. We carried these surveys out from Oct to Dec of each year – so consistent, annual surveying. In the Stroud area 14 of the farmers are part of the BVDP. We only lost one BVDP farmer over the three years of interviewing. During the face-to-face repeat interviews we have asked the farmers different things: in Round 1, we had a general interview about bTB, badgers and vaccination; in Round 2 we used video clips to examine views on badger vaccination and culling and key stakeholders; in Round 3 we asked farmers about their knowledge networks and who influences them. Variety between interviews is important to retain interest, but crucially we also asked farmers to re-score some key confidence statements. This has allowed us to track confidence in vaccination over time. We have a final repeat telephone survey, with the original 338 farmers, planned later this year. I will now say a little more about the methodology and where the survey took place and will then and introduce some key findings. [NB. Also completed interviews with vets in 3 areas each year (slight attrition), and have also tracked media coverage of badger vaccination].
This map shows the case study areas. The telephone survey was carried out in 5 case study areas: Stroud (the BVDP area) and four non-BVDP areas (see map) All are areas of high bTB incidence, although TB is less pronounced (and more recent) in SE of Congleton. The rationale for selection of the four non-BVDP areas is as follows: Cheltenham and Tetbury were selected because of close proximity to the BVDP area Cheltenham was one of the original six BVDP areas and setts mapped there (farmers have thus had some BVDP exposure) Farms in these 3 areas are clustered relatively close to one another The remaining two areas (Congleton and Torrington) were selected because of their geographical location, differences in bTB prevalence and general impressions about attitudes towards badger vaccination (established from farmer meetings about the BVDP). For the face-to-face interviews, we worked in 3 of the 5 areas (Stroud, Torrington & Congleton); given differences between them deemed most interesting for longitudinal work. Before I introduce the results, a few words about the longitudinal survey sample…
The baseline telephone survey – conducted in 2010 - involved farmers scoring 31 different statements. The statements were drawn from the work on trust and confidence that we reviewed. Farmers scored each statement on a 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree) scale. I don’t have time to go through all the results from the survey, but will focus instead on the longitudinal analysis, combining results from the survey with interview data…
No time to present tel survey results in detail, but this slide summarises overall findings. Principal Components Analysis (PCA) of the 31 telephone survey statements identified two strong components - confidence in vaccination and trust in government; 32% of total variance . The first explained 21% of the variance of the dataset, with Eigenvalue of 6.52. Five of the six most significant loadings relate to statements about the acceptance of badger vaccination (e.g. v. will help me feel more confident about avoiding bTB restrictions). The second component was less strong, but still had an Eigenvalue of 3.464 and explained 11.174% of the variance in the data . Questions that loaded into this component were related to aspects of trust in Government to conduct badger vaccination. Questions with highest loading scores were two statements relating to the government caring about reducing TB and being interested in what farmers think about badger vaccination. Possible to classify farmers according to how they ‘score’ on these two components i.e. take the components scores for the first two components (i.e., scores for each statement linked to each component) and plot each farmer on a matrix. What we can see from this chart is that there is a lot of clustering around the mid-points in the acceptance category. In other words, this is not unconditional acceptance and may be easily mediated by other factors. The different colours represent the different study regions (and if you are not colour blind you may be able to distinguish between the different regions) Although the acceptance category comes out highest, there is much greater concentration around the lower ends of the scale, whilst for the other groups, there is much greater variation in the groups.
In the face-to-face interviews we took these key statements from the PCA – 5 about badger vaccination and 5 about trust in government - and asked a sub-set of farmers from our 3 study areas to re-score them each year, as well as talking to them in more detail about badger control. This figure shows analysis of all respondents from 2013 compared with previous years. Data show that for all measures of vaccine confidence, levels of confidence are lower in 2013 than in 2010. The largest differences are in agreement as to whether badger vaccination is an acceptable way of dealing with bTB (40% in 2010 compared to 14% in 2013), and agreement over whether badger vaccination will help farmers feel more confident about avoiding bTB restrictions (42% in 2010, 22% in 2013). The general pattern is therefore declining confidence in badger vaccination.
This diagram looks at scores for the 5 BV questions put together – and compares areas. The higher the score, the more positive farmers feel about badger vaccination. For this index, scores can range from 5 to 25. Don’t know answers were re-coded to the midpoint. To maintain comparability, only respondents that have answered in all four years (n=44) are included in this part of the analysis. It shows very clearly that: Confidence in badger vaccination is lower than 2010 However, confidence in badger vaccination has increased since 2012. Area differences: Stroud and Torrington, most notably. Analysis overall shows that there is higher vaccine confidence in Stroud. This may be connected to the fact that the majority of these respondents were part of the BVDP.
This figure shows how farmers scored key statements about trust in Government. By contrast, levels of trust in Government have increased for three of the five measures between 2010-13. The largest increase was in relation to farmers agreeing that all arguments for badger vaccination have been taken into account by the government (2010, 22% agreement; 2013, 47% agreement). This may reflect farmers’ belief that with the roll out of pilot badger culls their views have been taken on board by the Government. Nevertheless, farmers also expressed much lower levels of agreement that the Government cared about reducing bTB in 2013 compared with 2010.
This diagram just looks at scores for 5 trust questions – again, also shows areas differences. The higher the score, the more positive farmers feel about the government. For this index, scores again range from 5 to 25. We can see very clearly that: Trust in government has increased since 2012. Again, differences between Stroud and Torrington
The interview analysis identifies a range of deeply held beliefs about nature and disease which influence farmers’ attitudes to badger vaccination and badger culling. Most farmers emphasise the need for a natural balance. They value wildlife and enjoy seeing badgers but feel that badger numbers have spiralled out of control. This justifies the need for a badger cull. While emphasising the need for population control, farmers also distinguish between clean and dirty badger. Farmers are keen to keep healthy badgers but want to cull those which are diseased. It is difficult to balance these two beliefs about nature – natural balance and ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ – the latter suggests a targeted approach to culling. Vaccination has no role in endemic areas but could be implemented in edge or non-endemic areas.
By way of conclusion, the following points emerge from the longitudinal analysis of statement scores: Confidence in badger vaccination is lower than 2010 Confidence in badger vaccination has increased since 2012. Trust in government has increased since 2012. Confidence in vaccination is highest in Stroud and amongst those farms that are part of the BVDP. Responses from farmers in the Great Torrington area were the most negative. Confidence in badger vaccination has fallen most amongst farmers who were most accepting of it in 2010. When respondents were grouped into one of four categories representing the extent to which they had confidence in badger vaccination and trust in the Government, farmers who fell into the ‘acceptance’ category declined (from 36.47 in 2010, to 30.67 in 2013). In other words, declines in trust and confidence are most pronounced amongst those farmers for whom it was initially highest. Farmers who were sceptical of vaccination in 2010 have not changed their view. Farmer views about badger vaccination are influenced and need to be interpreted in relation to their wider understandings of nature and local understandings of disease spread, a point reiterated throughout our repeat interview work. Finally, this paper, which has focused on trust between farmers and government, is part of on-going longitudinal analysis, which later this year will complete a repeat telephone survey that will provide even more powerful data re. farmer confidence in BV.
Farmer Confidence in Badger Vaccination - Bovine TB
Farmers’ Confidence in Badger Vaccination:
A Longitudinal Analysis
Damian Maye¹*, Gareth Enticott², Rhiannon Naylor3
, James Kirwan¹
and Brian Ilbery¹
¹ Countryside and Community Research Institute, Gloucester
² School of Planning and Geography, Cardiff University
Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester
International M.bovis Conference
* For correspondence, contact D. Maye: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Badger vaccination in England and Wales
deployed in small-scale capacity.
• Badger Vaccine Deployment Project (BVDP).
• Farmer confidence is low (Bennett and
• Farmers prefer a combination (i.e., effective
vaccination and culling) (Warren et al, 2013).
Badger vaccination socialBadger vaccination social
science studyscience study
• Aim: establish levels of farmer confidence
in the use of badger vaccination over time.
• Study accompanies the BVDP.
• With policy changes (e.g. Defra 2013), also
tracking levels of confidence in bTB policy.
• Examine the relationship between trust
and confidence (Metlay, 1999; Poortinga
and Pidgeon, 2003).
Beliefs about nature – the badgerBeliefs about nature – the badger
• “Beliefs relating to the overabundance of
wildlife can be powerful drivers of support for
management” (Dandy et al., 2012)
• Natural balance – population control
• ‘Clean’ and ‘dirty’ – targeted control
• Vaccination in edge or non-endemic areas
• Confidence in BV is lower than 2010.
• Confidence in BV has increased since 2012.
• Trust in Gov. has increased since 2012.
• BV confidence is lower amongst farmers
who were most accepting of it in 2010.
• Beliefs about nature an influencing factor.
• Enticott, G., Maye, D., Fisher, R., Ilbery, B. and Kirwan, J. (in press) Badger Vaccination:
Dimensions of Trust and Confidence in the Governance of Animal Disease. Environment
and Planning A,
• Fisher, R., Maye, D., Ilbery, B., Enticott, G. and Kirwan, J. (in press) Researching
controversial and sensitive issues: using visual vignettes to explore farmers’ attitudes
towards the control of bovine tuberculosis in England. Area,
• Maye, D., Enticott, G., Fisher, R., Ilbery, B. and Kirwan, J. (under review) Animal Disease
and Narratives of Nature: Farmers’ Reactions to the Neoliberal Governance of Bovine
Tuberculosis. Journal of Rural Studies,
• Maye, D., Enticott, G., Ilbery, B., Fisher, R. and Kirwan, J. (2013). Assessing farmer
confidence in badger vaccination: some findings from a survey of cattle farmers in
England. Journal of Rural and Community Development, 8 (3), 49-64.
• Enticott, G., Maye, D., Ilbery, B. Fisher, R. and Kirwan, J. (2012) Farmers’ Confidence in
Vaccinating Badgers Against Bovine Tuberculosis. Veterinary Record, 170:204 doi:
• Fisher, R., Maye, D., Ilbery, B., Enticott, G. and Kirwan, J. (2012) The spatial distribution
of bovine tuberculosis in England. Geography, 97 (2), 68-77.