Understanding Australian farmer's intention to adopt practices advocated by animal welfare groups: the case of mulesing in the Australian wool industry

Alexandra Wells

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    Abstract

    [Truncated abstract] The present thesis seeks to contribute to the limited understanding of Australian farmer's intentions for change when pressured to adopt more animal-friendly practices by animal welfare groups. The example used in the thesis was pressure from the animal welfare group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on the Australian wool industry to stop the practice of mulesing by the end of 2010, due to the pain it causes sheep. The problem with stopping mulesing is that it is a long-held practice that is effective at reducing breech strike, a condition that itself causes welfare problems for sheep. Another issue with the cessation of mulesing is that Australian farmers tend to have greater choice over their production methods than their European or U.S. counterparts, meaning farmers may be reluctant to adopt alternatives to mulesing that are newer, are not proven as effective as mulesing for preventing breech strike and are likely to entail more time, effort and costs to implement. Two research questions were posed regarding farmer's intentions for change in regards to mulesing: 1. Which method/s of preventing breech strike do Australian farmers intend to use after 2010? 2. What factors influence Australian farmer's intentions to stop mulesing and use alternative methods to prevent breech strike after 2010? Review of the literature suggested that despite a lack of testing in a farming context, conceptual models from social psychology may prove useful in explaining farmer's intentions regarding future use of mulesing. Further, perceptions of risk and uncertainty were identified as being potentially influential in farmer's decisions to adopt change. As such, existing models from social psychology were tested in the present thesis, along with a novel research model that combined these existing models with the concepts of perceived risk and uncertainty...
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2011

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