STAGE 2: DEFINING A TARGET BEHAVIOUR
Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health and Innovia Technology have been exploring the concept of “gold-standard” behaviours in relation to detection and management of pain in cattle, with a focus on pain caused by mastitis, respiratory disease and assisted calving. The team carried out in depth research to see how much discrepancy there was between what is recommended and what is usually done on farm.
Defining the who and the what that needs to be done differently is key to achieving the desired outcome. In stage 2 of the project, we defined ideal – or gold-standard – vet and farmer behaviours relating to pain management. These gold-standard behaviours are what we could expect farmers and vets to be doing and were constructed through reviewing literature, conducting a relatively small number of farmer and vet interviews.
An iterative process followed, that involved carrying out additional interviews with vets and farmers, as well as desk-based research to help identify and define “gold-standard” and “usual” vet and farmer behaviours relating to the target factor.
Two rounds of interviews were conducted
1. The first round was exploratory and designed to allow participants to reflect on what they considered to be the ideal – or “gold-standard” – when it came to farmer and vet behaviour, with respect to the detection and treatment of pain associated with mastitis, respiratory disease and assisted calving.
These interviews consisted of two broad open-ended questions (about “ideal” behaviours and “usual behaviours”) in relation to each of the three target causes of pain. Interviews were conducted over the telephone and lasted between 30 and 60 minutes.
2. In the second round of interviews, Innovia emailed the participants a copy of the draft gold-standard vet and farmer behaviours for them to review ahead of the call. With these participants Innovia conducted a semi-structured interview – lasting between 45 and 60 minutes – to review each of the draft gold-standard behaviours, and to solicit feedback on their accuracy as well as the headroom for improvement between usual farmer and vet behaviours and the gold-standard behaviours.
The findings were analysed by the Innovia team and brought to discussions with the core project team, where the evidence was used to influence a decision as to exactly what the most relevant target behaviour for the project should be.