What veterinarians need to know about producers' perceptions in order to optimize their role as advisors for key animal care issues in dairy herds
Keywords:animal welfare, producer, dairy cattle, lameness, advisor, role, perception, animal care
Animal care concerns, and thus animal care assessments have been increasing within the dairy industry. In Canada, a national Animal Care Assessment has just been implemented which utilizes animal based measures such as lameness and hock injuries. Veterinarians and producers in Canada agree that the top management issue on dairy farms is animal welfare and the number one health concern on dairy farms is lameness, and they agree that 'supporting animal health and welfare decisions' are major roles of the veterinarian. However, to date, there are no in depth qualitative publications investigating dairy producer's expectations on the role of veterinarians as advisors for animal welfare issues (i.e. lameness, hock injuries). The objective of this study was to explore dairy farmer’s perceptions of the role of the veterinarian as it pertains to communicating and consulting on animal care, and to gain insight into barriers that prevent animal care improvement through veterinarians.