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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

Lameness on Brazilian pasture based dairies - Part 2: Conversations with farmers and dairy consultants

Olmos, Gabriela; Bran, Jose A.; von Keyserlingk, Marina A. G.; Hotzel, Maria J.


A farmer or a dairy consultant's ability to identify and properly treat lame dairy cows is key to managing lameness on farms. However, this ability is dependent on their knowledge and perceptions regarding lameness. To date these topics are poorly understood in all dairy systems. To our knowledge, this is the first study that uses a qualitative approach to describe the perception of lameness in Brazilian pasture-based dairy farms. The aim of this study was firstly, to contextualize farmers and dairy consultants' culture and knowledge on the topic of lameness and, secondly, to understand how these factors may influence lameness management on the farms. Indepth face-to-face semi-structured interviews were done with participating farm owners (n = 21) and dairy consultants (n = 13). Thematic analyses of the interview content provided evidence that the dairy community's overarching culture around lameness acts as a barrier preventing positive actions targeting lameness control and prevention. The emerging themes identified indicate that lameness is a vague, ill-defined concept among both farmers and dairy consultants working in this region. There was a shared belief that pasture-based systems have a low risk for lameness. Furthermore, the prevailing culture for tackling lameness was reactive, particularly in the case of lame cows affected by physical trauma or environmental factors. Treatment was frequently delayed and the misuse of antibiotics was evident. Described community culture was rationalised via the cognitive dissonance and health belief models. We suggest that increased dialogue, including educational efforts within the community, may lead to increased sensitivity of risk perception of lameness within the community and in turn trigger appropriate diagnosis and treatment of lame cows.


Attitudes; Extension agents; Grazing dairy cows; Smallholder; Perceptions

Published in

Preventive Veterinary Medicine
2018, Volume: 157, pages: 115-124

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG4 Quality education

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
    Animal and Dairy Science
    Other Veterinary Science

    Publication identifier


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