Dear Australian Dairy Farmers,

Johne’s disease (JD) is a debilitating wasting disease affecting cattle and other ruminant species, well known to dairy farmers in Australia and Canada. Australia has had a comprehensive control policy which has undergone significant revisions over time. Although Canada has voluntary JD programs offering advice for controlling JD, it does not have a formal testing and certification policy and support program. Learning what did and did not work for Australia would be valuable to Canadian dairy farmers, policy formulators, and JD researchers including developers of JD vaccines and differentiation tests.

The main research question of this study pertains to the benefits and drawbacks of Australian JD control policy, as perceived by Australian dairy farmers. The objectives are to (a) understand perceived catalysts and barriers to JD control in Australia, (b) understand the role of a vaccine in a control strategy in Australia, and (c) apply the learnings from Australian JD control programs to JD control in Canada. The study has been approved by the ethics review board at the University of Calgary.

This study will ask you to answer a series of questions regarding your dairy farm characteristics, animal health and biosecurity, attitudes and perceptions of the benefits and drawbacks of the Australian JD control program, and some basic demographics. All responses are anonymous and will be aggregated; no individual responses will be identifiable. The questionnaire should take 20 minutes or less to complete.

Results of our study are expected in 6 months of completion of this questionnaire and will be made available through popular dairy press in Australia and in Canada. Scientific publications will also be available in the academic literature. Your contribution to our knowledge of JD control policy will benefit dairy farmers in all countries where JD is present, as well as dairy policy formulators and dairy consumers.

We very much appreciate your willingness to consider participation in our study.

Sincerely,


David C. Hall, DVM, PhD (AgrEcon)
Assoc. Professor, Animal health economics and policy
Dept. Ecosystem and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,
University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Tel: (403) 210-7589
 
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