Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
  • Publication
    Challenges and Solutions to Supporting Farm Animal Welfare in Ireland: Responding to the Human Element
    (Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, 2018-06-21) ; ; ; ;
    Over recent decades, changes in agriculture have pushed animal welfare as a topic of concern into mainstream public, policy and political conversations (Buller and Morris, 2003; Fraser, 2014; Broom, 2016). Despite the relationship between farmers and farm animals being important for farm animal welfare standards, there is limited understanding of how the nature of this relationship influences welfare outcomes. Understanding the complexities of this relationship and the wider context in which these complexities are situated is central to forming and implementing interventions that can be effective in improving farm animal welfare on individual farms.
  • Publication
    Dilemmas experienced by government veterinarians when responding professionally to farm animal welfare incidents in Ireland
    Objectives: This paper identifies the dilemmas experienced by government veterinarians during their investigations of farm animal welfare incidents that involve herd owner social, health, and/or psychological difficulties. The paper builds on exploratory qualitative research into the impact of these difficulties on farm animal welfare.Design: The study used a qualitative research approach. Focus groups were conducted.Setting: In Ireland, an Early Warning System (EWS), which brings together relevant agencies, is in place to identify and prevent farm animal welfare problems before they become critical. This study is concerned with the experiences of government veterinarians who respond to farm animal welfare incidents. Specific focus is on incidents that involve herd owner social/ psychological/health-related difficulties.Participants: In total, n=18 government veterinarians (representing 15 per cent of the population sample), all with a keen interest in farm animal welfare, participated. These were selected on the basis of their interest, experience, and involvement in farm animal welfare. One government veterinarian declined to participate. Four focus groups were conducted with government veterinarians. These took place in the south (S), south-west (SW), midlands (M), and north-west region of Ireland (NW). All 16 District Veterinary Offices (DVOs) were represented in the focus groups.Results: The results reveal three professional dilemmas that exist for government veterinarians: (1) defining professional parameters; (2) determining the appropriate response; (3) involvement versus detachment. Participants reported not wanting any additional training. Instead, it was agreed that a formal bridge to social service providers who have the professional capability to respond appropriately and with confidence, was required.Conclusions: Clearly defined guidelines are required for government veterinarians in their encounters with farm animal welfare incidents where there is a complex human component. A coordinated multiagency approach that is flexible enough to meet the needs of individual farm animal welfare cases is required. 
  • Publication
    A HACCP-based approach to mastitis control in dairy herds. Part 2: Implementation and evaluation
    (Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.), 2011) ; ; ;
    Part 1 of the study described the development of a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) based programme and accompanying handbook for the control of mastitis. This paper describes the implementation and evaluation of customised HACCP-based programmes, which were developed from the handbook and assessed on six Irish dairy farms. Both quantitative and qualitative (action research) research methodologies were used to measure the success of implementation and efficacy of control of sub-clinical mastitis as measured by Somatic Cell Counts (SCC) and the degree of compliance by farmers in adopting and maintaining recommendations throughout the course of the study period. No overall differences in SCC before and during the implementation of the study were found when all six farms were considered together. Three of the six study farms experienced a significant decrease in herd milk recorded SCC during the implementation of the control programme. An essential part of the study was achieving initial agreement on recommendations as well as ongoing monitoring of compliance during the study. This pilot study shows that HACCP can be implemented on farms as a means of working towards the control of mastitis and that farmer attitude, and understanding of mastitis are crucial in terms of motivation irrespective of practical approaches used to manage mastitis.
      607Scopus© Citations 11
  • Publication
    Novel ecosystems: challenges and opportunities for the Anthropocene
    (Sage Publications, 2016-07-27) ;
    Novel ecosystems are ecological assemblages that have emerged in the landscapes of the Anthropocene, where an ecological abiotic or biotic threshold has been passed and can no longer be restored to a previous state. In such landscapes, novelty is attributed to unanticipated rapid anthropogenic environmental change, and deliberate land use practices, and can be characterised by the arrival over time of differing species assemblages and extent. While little has been explored in the literature with respect to the policy implications of novel ecosystems, calls have been made for a better understanding of the barriers to adopting novel ecosystems within mainstream policy. This review reports on a qualitative literature analysis carried out in order to identify the challenges and opportunities for transposing novel ecosystem theory into mainstream policy. Though published debate is still emerging, eleven policy challenges broadly conforming to three themes were identified. Within these themes three opportunity areas were identified, revealing that more focussed discussion is required on the wider policy implications of novel ecosystems beyond the stated concerns about lowering standards in ecological conservation. The analysis also shows that there exists a greater understanding of the challenges to transposing novel ecosystems in policy, as opposed to the possible opportunities under current policy timeframes. While a resilience framework has been put forward to offer an outline for policy makers, mechanisms for incorporating novel ecosystem theory into policy and decision making is some distance off.
      370Scopus© Citations 11
  • Publication
    Understanding the context for pet cat and dog feeding and exercising behaviour among pet owners in Ireland: a qualitative study
    Background: Pet cat and dog obesity contributes to increased risk of several diseases, including cancer and diabetes mellitus as well as a worsening of orthopaedic problems, and a reduction in survival rate. This study aims to develop a better understanding of cat and dog owners’ self-reported beliefs and factors that influence owner behaviour around feeding and exercising their pet cat or dog, as there is a lack of in-depth understanding in this area. Seven focus group discussions, with 43 pet owners in total, were conducted. Results: Pet owners often reported a perceived a low level of control over feeding; often undermined by other people feeding of their pet, their pets begging for food, and their pets attitude towards food. Treats were used in the absence of owner control over pet begging and emotional attachment, and to influence pet behaviour. The majority of participants had positive attitudes to pet exercise, which could be related to pet specific requirements, especially differences in cats and dogs. There were some negative experiences of stress associated with dog walking and fears over aggressive confrontations with other dogs. Conclusion: Feeding one’s pet is influenced by beliefs about pet specific needs, pet food and pet health, pet owners’ perceived control over feeding, and the implications for the pet owner. Pet exercise is influenced by beliefs about pet specific exercise needs, and the implications of exercising one’s pet for the pet owner. Understanding owner behaviours on feeding and exercise allows for a more targeted approach to preventing and treating pet obesity.
      268Scopus© Citations 8
  • Publication
    The Dynamics of Justification in Policy Reform: Insights from Water Policy Debates in Ireland
    Policy reform can be complex and fraught with contending arguments. Although much research has been conducted into the politics of coalition formation, less attention has been devoted to legitimating logics in policy reform. Drawing on the work of Boltanski and Thévenot, this exploratory study addresses this deficit by examining the influence of justifications deployed in policy debates. The paper analyses the role of shifting reasoning in contentious debates concerning attempts to reform water policy, including the introduction of domestic water charges in Ireland. Employing data from parliamentary deliberations, the paper traces the changing forms of justification used by those favouring and opposing the reforms. This examination suggests the importance of aligning an argument’s content with the shifting context into which it is introduced. The paper highlights the benefits of an investigative approach concerning policy justification for understanding policy reform dynamics at the intersection of politics and environmental communication.
      336Scopus© Citations 6