Date of this Version
Gulab,S. (2017)UNDERSTANDING CONSUMER ATTITUDES TOWARDS ANTIMICROBIAL RISK REDUCING PRACTICES. (Unpublished Masters Thesis). The University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska.
The emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance is a natural evolutionary reaction to antimicrobial exposure. However, the misuse and overuse of antimicrobial drugs in human medicine and in agriculture are speeding up the process. Antimicrobials have been used in food-producing animals for therapeutic purposes as well as to promote growth by applying low concentrations in animal feed. Antimicrobial resistant pathogens can enter the food chain through food containing residues of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and cause infections in humans. In the United States, millions of people are infected every year with antimicrobial resistant bacterial diseases causing approximately 23,000 deaths (CDC 2013). This study examines the public’s objective and subjective (self-assessed) knowledge and perceptions of antibiotic use in the livestock and poultry industries as well as knowledge and perceptions of antibiotic resistance. The study further examines the public’s level of acceptance of antibiotic use in food animals for disease prevention, disease control, disease treatment, and as growth promotants, as well as how attitudes towards animal welfare may impact antibiotic use acceptance. A quantitative survey questionnaire was developed to achieve study objectives, and it was administered online by the survey firm IRI between May and June 2018. A random sample of 1,030 individuals across the United States participated in the survey. Data on participants’ subjective and objective knowledge of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance, acceptance of antibiotic use in livestock animals, perceptions of antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance, food safety perceptions, attitudes towards animal welfare and demographic variables were collected. An ordered Probit model was used to determine the level of acceptance of different uses of antibiotics in food animal production. Marginal effects in an ordered Probit model were used to estimate the probability change in the level of acceptance of study participants. Results indicate that the level of acceptance for each use of antibiotics is influenced by the participants’ subjective and objective knowledge of both antibiotic use and antibiotic resistance. The results further demonstrate that food safety perceptions play a significant role in the level of acceptance of antibiotics in food animal production. Further, results show that attitudes towards animal welfare and demographic variables such as age, sex and race affect the level of acceptance of antibiotic use in food animal production.
Advisors: Amalia Yiannaka and Kathleen Brooks