College students?rceptions of the national animal identification system



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The purpose of this study was to determine awareness, knowledge, and perceptions of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) among college students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University. Since the issue of a governmentsponsored electronic national identification system for livestock is relatively new, many pros and cons exist regarding increased biosecurity and increased surveillance by the government. While many adult producer groups have expressed their concerns over the implications of the proposed identification system, little attention has been focused on future producers?youth and college students. This study investigated how college students gathered information about livestock industry issues from mass media or other resources, and how the students? awareness and knowledge of the identification system influenced their perceptions of the NAIS. The sample population consisted of students enrolled in courses related to animal agriculture and production during the spring 2007 semester at Texas A&M University. Stratified random sampling was used to determine participants, and a total of 92 students responded to the survey. The strata were animal science majors and non-animal science majors, and upperclassmen and lowerclassmen. An online, self-administered survey was used to collect data from the participants. The survey consisted of close-ended and open-ended questions; a pilot study of students with similar majors and classification as the sample established face validity of the instrument. Descriptive statistics, correlations, and one-way ANOVA were used to examine the data. Major findings were that as a group, students were somewhat aware of the NAIS, and were knowledgeable of general NAIS concepts. Students disagreed with the statement that they are well-informed about the NAIS. Students? perceptions of the NAIS were positively associated with their awareness of the NAIS. Livestock leadership experiences (4-H or FFA membership, livestock show team member, exhibitor experience, and youth livestock organization member) had positive moderate correlations with NAIS awareness. Livestock exhibitor experience had a moderate correlation with perception of the NAIS. University professors, Internet, and family members were preferred information sources. Opinion leaders? influence as information sources affected students? awareness and perceptions of the NAIS. Cooperative Extension, private organizations, and university professors were all moderately correlated with students? awareness of the NAIS. University professors had a positive, yet low correlation with students? perceptions of the NAIS.