A qualitative investigation of the attitudes and practices of farmers and veterinarians in Wales regarding anthelmintic resistance in cattle


Anthelmintic resistance
Attitudes and opinions
Semi-structured interviews
Social science

How to Cite

Charlton, K., & Robinson, P. A. (2020). A qualitative investigation of the attitudes and practices of farmers and veterinarians in Wales regarding anthelmintic resistance in cattle. Veterinaria Italiana, 55(4), 327-337. https://doi.org/10.12834/VetIt.1848.9845.3


Despite the importance of stakeholder practices in the potential development of anthelmintic resistance (AR) in livestock, there is a lack of qualitative research examining the attitudes and behaviours of anthelmintic end users and their professional advisors. Given the increasing importance of developing anthelmintic resistance patterns in cattle, and the need to avoid AR in cattle developing to the same extent as it has in sheep, the objective of this qualitative study was therefore to assess the factors affecting anthelmintic product choice and usage, and awareness and attitudes towards AR in cattle in north Wales. Twelve semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted with nine cattle farmers and three veterinarians. Farmer knowledge and engagement with the issue of AR in cattle in this study was low. A lack of perceived threat was apparent, with only a demonstrable problem at farm level the likely incentive to change future worming protocols and practice. Cost had a very prominent influence on anthelmintic product choice, but importance was also given to product recommendations from social farming networks and other non-veterinary advisory sources. A more proactive approach should be taken to raise farmers’ and veterinarians’ awareness of increasing levels of AR in cattle and improve anthelmintic governance.


Adam C.J.M., Ducrot C.P.M., Paul M.C. & Fortané N. 2017. Autonomy under contract: the case of traditional free-range poultry farmers. Rev Agric Food Environ Stud, 98, 55-74.

Aronowitz R.A. 1991. Lyme disease: the social construction of a new disease and its social consequences. Millbank Quart, 69, 79-112.

Baiak B.H.B., Lehnen C.R. & Rocha R.A.D. 2018. Anthelmintic resistance in cattle: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Livest Sci, 217, 127-135.

Bell N.J., Main D.C.J., Whay H.R., Knowles T.G., Bell M.J. & Webster A.J.F. 2006. Herd health planning: farmers' perceptions in relation to lameness and mastitis. Vet Rec, 159, 699-705.

Bellet C. 2018. Change it or perish? Drug resistance and the dynamics of livestock farm practices. J Rural Stud, 63, 57-64.

BVA. 2017. Should SQPs prescribe anthelmintics for livestock? Vet Rec, 181, 670. BVA 2018. UK’s leading veterinary body debunks link between canine autism and vaccination. https://www.bva.co.uk/news-campaigns-and-policy/newsroom/news-releases/uk-s-leading-veterinary-body-debunks-link-between-canine-autism-and-vaccination/. Accessed on 11 March 2019.

Charlier J., De Waele V., Ducheyne E., van der Voort M., Vande Velde F. & Claerebout E. 2016. Decision making on helminths in cattle: diagnostics, economics and human behaviour. Irish Vet J, 69, 14. doi: 10.1186/s13620-016-0073-6.

Chenais E. & Fischer K. 2018. Increasing the local relevance of epidemiological research: situated knowledge of cattle disease among Basongora pastoralists in Uganda. Front Vet Sci, 5, 119. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00119.

Clémence B., Fortané N., Calavas D., Leblond A. & Gay E. 2018. Why do veterinarians ask for antimicrobial susceptibility testing? A qualitative study exploring determinants and evaluating impact of antibiotic reduction policy. Prev Vet Med, 159, 123-134.

Cristel S., Fiel C., Anziani O., Descarga C., Cetrá B., Romero J., Fernández S., Entrocasso C., Lloberas M., Medus D. & Steffan P. 2017. Anthelmintic resistance in grazing beef cattle in central and northeastern areas of Argentina – An update. Vet Parasitol: Reg Studies and Reps, 9, 25-28.

Curtis S., Gesler W., Smith G. & Washburn S. 2000. Approaches to sampling and case selection in qualitative research: examples in the geography of health. Soc Sci Med, 50, 1001-1014.

DEFRA (2018) Farming Statistics – Provisional crop areas, yields and livestock populations at June 2018 – United Kingdom. Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/747210/structure-jun2018prov-UK-11oct18.pdf. Accessed on 29 April 2019.

De Graef J., Claerebout E. & Geldhof P. 2013. Anthelmintic resistance of gastrointestinal cattle nematodes. Flem Vet J, 82, 113-123.

Easton S., Bartley D.J., Hotchkiss E., Hodgkinson J.E., Pinchbeck G.L. & Matthews J.B. 2016a. Use of a multiple choice questionnaire to assess UK prescribing channels’ knowledge of helminthology and best practice surrounding anthelmintic use in livestock and horses. Prev Vet Med, 128, 70-77.

Easton S., Pinchbeck G.L., Bartley D.J., Hotchkiss E., Hodgkinson J.E. & Matthews J.B. 2016b. A survey of UK prescribers’ experience of, and opinions on, anthelmintic prescribing practices for livestock and equines. Prev Vet Med, 134, 69-81.

Easton S., Pinchbeck G.L., Bartley D.J., Hodgkinson J.E. & Matthews J.B. 2018. A survey of experiences of UK cattle and sheep farmers with anthelmintic prescribers: are best practice principles being deployed at farm level? Prev Vet Med, 155, 27-37.

Flick U. 2014. Triangulation. In An introduction to qualitative research. Sage: Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore & Washington DC. 182-192.

Gasbarre L.C. 2014. Anthelmintic resistance in cattle nematodes in the US. Vet Parasitol, 204, 3-11.

George M.M., Paras K.L., Howell S.B. & Kaplan R.M. 2017. Utilization of composite fecal samples for detection of anthelmintic resistance in gastro intestinal nematodes if cattle. Vet Parasitol, 240, 24-29.

Glaser B.G. & Strauss A.L. 2008. The discovery of grounded theory: strategies for qualitative research. Aldine Transaction, New Brunswick and London.Glossop C. 2013. Tackling TB and other challenges in Wales. Vet Rec, 172, 199-200.

Godfray C., Donnelly C., Hewinson G., Winter M. & Wood J. 2018. Bovine TB strategy review. October 2018. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/756942/tb-review-final-report-corrected.pdf. Accessed on 11 March 2019.

Guerden T., Chartier C., Fanke J., di Regalbono A.F., Traversa D., von Samson-Himmelstjerna G., Demeler J., Vanimisetti H.B., Bartram D.J. & Denwood M.J. 2015. Anthelmintic resistance to ivermectin and moxidectin in gastrointestinal nematodes of cattle in Europe. Int J Parasitol-Drug, 5, 163-171.

Guest G., Bunce A. & Johnson L. 2006. How many interviews are enough? An experiment with data saturation and variability. Field Method, 18, 59-82.

Hall J. & Wapenaar W. 2012. Opinions and practices of veterinarians and dairy farmers towards herd health management in the UK. Vet Rec, 170, 141-145.

Hamilton L., Evans N. & Allcock J. 2019. “I don’t go to Meetings”: understanding farmer perspectives on bovine TB and biosecurity training. Vet Rec, 184, 410.

Hosking B.C., Watson T.G.H. & Leathwick D.M. 1996. Multigeneric resistance to oxfendazole by nematodes in cattle. Vet Rec, 138, 67-68.

Leach M. & Fairhead J. 2007. Vaccine anxieties: global science, child health & society. Earthscan, London, Sterling, VA.

Learmount J., Stephens N., Boughtflower V., Barrecheguren A. & Rickell K. 2016. The development of anthelmintic resistance with best practice control of nematodes on commercial sheep farms in the UK. Vet Parasitol, 229, 9-14.

Leathwick D.M. & Miller C.M. 2013. Efficacy of oral, injectable and pour-on formulations of moxidectin against gastrointestinal nematodes in cattle in New Zealand. Vet Parasitol, 191, 293-300.

Lomas H.R. & Robinson P.A. 2018. A pilot qualitative investigation of stakeholders’ experiences and opinions of equine insect bite hypersensitivity in England. Vet Sci, 5, 3. doi:10.3390/vetsci5010003.

Martínez-Valladares M., Guerden T., Bartram D.J., Martínez-Pérez J.M., Robles-Pérez D., Bohórquez B., Florez E., Meana A. & Rojo-Vázquez F.A. 2015. Resistance of gastrointestinal nematodes to the most commonly used anthelmintics in sheep, cattle and horses in Spain. Vet Parasitol, 211, 163-171.

McAloon C.G., Macken-Walsh A., Morance L., Whyte P., More S.J., O’Grady L. & Doherty M.L. 2017. Johne’s disease in the eyes of Irish cattle farmers: a qualitative narrative research approach to understanding implications for disease management. Prev Vet Med, 141, 7-13.

McArthur M.J. & Reinemeyer C.R. 2014. Herding the U.S. cattle industry toward a paradigm shift in parasite control. Vet Parasit, 204, 34-43.

Miller J. & Glassner B. 2016. The ‘inside’ and ‘outside’: finding realities in interviews. In Silverman D. ed. Qualitative Research. SAGE Publications, London. 51-66.

Morgan E.R., Aziz N.A., Blanchard A., Charlier J., Charvet C., [and 24 others]. 2019. 100 questions in livestock helminthology research. Trends Parasitol, 35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2018.10.006.Noy C. 2008. Sampling knowledge: the hermeneutics of snowball sampling in qualitative research. Int J Soc Res Method, 11, 327-344.

Patton M.Q. 2015. Qualitative research and evaluation methods. 4th ed. SAGE Publications, London.Ramos F., Portella L.P., Rodrigues F.S., Pötter L., Cezar A.S., Sangioni L.A. & Vogel F.S. 2016. Anthelmintic resistance in gastrointestinal nematodes of beef cattle in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Int J Parasitol-Drug, 6, 93-101.

Richens I.F., Hobson-West P., Brennan M.L., Lowton R., Kaler J. & Wapenaar W. 2015. Farmers’ perception of the role of veterinary surgeons in vaccination strategies in British dairy farms. Vet Rec, 177, 465-470.

Robinson P.A. 2017a. Farmers and bovine tuberculosis: contextualising statutory disease control within everyday farming lives. J Rural Stud, 55, 168-180.

Robinson P.A. 2017b. Framing bovine tuberculosis: a ‘political ecology of health’ approach to circulation of knowledge(s) about animal disease control. Geogr J, 183, 285-294.

Saunders M., Lewis P. & Thornhill A. 2016. Research methods for business students. 7th ed. Pearson, Harlow.

Suarez V.H. & Cristel S.L. 2014. Risk factors for anthelmintic resistance development in cattle gastrointestinal nematodes in Argentina. Rev Bras Parasitol Vet, 23, 129-135.

Suryanarayanan S. & Kleinman D.L. 2012. Be(e)coming experts: the controversy over insecticides in the honey bee colony collapse disorder. Soc Stud Sci, 43, 215-240.

Taylor M.A. 2012. SCOPS and COWS – ‘Worming it out of UK farmers’. Vet Parasitol, 186, 65-69.

Vaarst M., Paarup-Laursen B., Houe H., Fossing C. & Andersen H.J. 2002. Farmers’ choice of medical treatment of mastitis in Danish dairy herds based on qualitative research interviews. J Dairy Sci, 85, 992-1001.

Vande Velde F., Claerebout E., Cauberghe V., Hudders L., Van Loo H. & Vercruysse J. 2015. Diagnosis before treatment: Identifying dairy farmers’ determinants for the adoption of sustainable practices in gastrointestinal nematode control. Vet Parasitol, 212, 308-317.

Vande Velde F., Charlier J. & Claerebout E. 2018a. Farmer behaviour and gastrointestinal nematodes in ruminant livestock – Uptake of sustainable control approaches. Front Vet Sci, 5, 255. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00255.

Vande Velde F., Charlier J., Hudders L., Cauberghe V. & Claerebout E. 2018b. Beliefs, intentions, and beyond: a qualitative study on the adoption of sustainable gastrointestinal nematode control practices in Flanders’ dairy industry. Prev Vet Med, 153, 15-23.

Wagner-Egger P., Bangerter A., Gilles I., Green E., Rigaud D., Krings F., Staerklé C. & Clémence A. 2011. Lay perceptions of collectives at the outbreak of the H1N1 epidemic: heroes, villains and victims. Public Understand Sci, 20, 461-476.

Welsh Government, 2018. June 2018 Survey of agriculture and horticulture: results for Wales. Available at: https://gov.wales/docs/statistics/2018/181127-survey-agriculture-horticulture-june-2018-en.pdf. Accessed on 26 February 2019.

Woodroffe R. 2014. Building trust on bovine TB. Vet Rec, 174, 254-255. Wright N. & Nerlich B. 2006. Use of the deficit model in a shared culture of argumentation: the case of foot and mouth science. Public Understand Sci, 15, 331-342.