All author's publications are listed below.
Building a strong and trustworthy communication network to report unusual signs of disease will facilitate Australia's response to a foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak. In a four-year study, the FMD Ready Farmer-led surveillance project adopted the Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) framework, modelling transformation of how knowledge is co-created, valued, and communicated. The FMD Ready project has highlighted the need for multiple stakeholders' voices to be heard, and the importance of regulatory bodies to listen. Relationships take time and need to be valued as a necessary tool in a participatory, innovative approach to animal health and disease management.
Volume 21 • Issue 02 • 2022 • Special Issue Participatory science communication for transformation (PCST2020+1)
Despite Australian horse owners being encouraged to vaccinate their horses against Hendra virus to reduce the risk of this potentially fatal virus to horses and humans, vaccine uptake has been slow. Discourse around the vaccine has been characterised by polarisation and dissenting voices. In this study we interviewed horse owners (N=15) and veterinarians (N=10), revealing how expert knowledge, disqualification of lay knowledge and inadequate handling of uncertainty impacted divisive discourse around Hendra virus. We assert that more inclusive, reflective and ultimately more effective risk communication practices will result if the legitimacy of diverse knowledge sources and the inevitability of uncertainty are acknowledged.
A transdisciplinary pilot study with Australia's livestock industries is bringing multiple stakeholders together as equal partners, to examine the complex problems around animal disease management. These problems include disease surveillance and on-farm biosecurity practices. The pilot groups are established in industries susceptible to foot and mouth disease, namely dairy and beef cattle, pork, sheep and goats. The Agricultural Innovation Systems framework is being evaluated to determine its effectiveness as a tool to improve partnerships between stakeholders. These stakeholders include livestock producers (farmers), private and government veterinarians, local council representatives, and industry personal including from saleyards and abattoirs. Stimulation of innovative solutions to issues arising from conflicting priorities and limited resources around animal disease management are also expected. Using a participatory communication approach, the impact of the pilot on trust and relationships is being evaluated. The sustainability of the Agricultural Innovation Systems approach to address complex issues around animal health management is also being assessed. The aim of the study is to strengthen Australia's preparedness for an emergency animal disease outbreak, such as Foot and Mouth Disease.