A comparison of pig farmers' and veterinarians' perceptions and intentions to reduce antimicrobial usage in six European countries
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Antimicrobial (AM) resistance is an increasing problem in human and veterinary medicine. To manage this problem, the usage of AM should be reduced in pig farming, as well as in other areas. It is important to investigate the factors that influence both pig farmers' and veterinarians' intentions to reduce AM usage, which is a prerequisite for developing intervention measures. We conducted a mail survey among pig farmers (N = 1,294) and an online survey among veterinarians (N = 334) in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. The farmers' survey assessed the perceived risks and benefits of and need for AM usage; the intention to reduce AM usage; farmers' efficacy (i.e. perception of their ability to reduce AM usage); support from their veterinarian; and the future reduction potential of AM usage. Additionally, self-reported reduction behaviours, the perceived farmers' barriers to reduce AM usage and relationships with farmers were assessed in the veterinarians' survey. The results showed that farmers and veterinarians had similar perceptions of the risks and benefits of AM usage. Veterinarians appeared to be more optimistic than pig farmers about reducing AM usage in pig farming. Farmers believed that their efficacy over AM reduction was relatively high. Farmers' intention to reduce AM usage and veterinarians' self-reported reduction behaviours were mainly associated with factors concerning the feasibility of reducing AM usage. To promote prudent AM usage, pig farmers should learn and experience how to reduce usage by applying alternative measures, whereas veterinarians should strengthen their advisory role and competencies to support and educate farmers.