Risk Perceptions and Public Willingness to Support CWD Management in Canada

  • Author / Creator
  • In this study, we explore how the Canadian public’s risk perceptions regarding Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) are related to their willingness to support increased surveillance for CWD -a neurological disease that affects certain species of deer, elk and moose. In our case, the relationship is not the level of risk perceptions held but how exposure to different sets of risk perception questions may prime survey respondent’s willingness to support additional taxes for CWD surveillance. Due to the nature of CWD, the risk perceptions defined and researched in this study are food safety risk perceptions, animal health risk perceptions and economic risk perceptions, a mixture of personal (e.g., food safety to oneself) and altruistic risk perceptions (e.g., food safety risks to animal, risks to industry and economy). Public incentives to control CWD could be driven by priming and information provision. A national survey was used to collect data from which probit and tobit regression models were estimated to explain factors affecting the individual risk perceptions. The survey was designed with 10 treatments representing exposure to different combinations of risk perception questions. The results showed heterogeneity in risk perceptions across sociodemographic characteristics and attitudes to wildlife, for example. Risk perceptions were related to meat eating preferences, knowledge of CWD, and public perception and relationship to wildlife and the environment. A set of referendum questions on programs to increase CWD surveillance were also used to investigate the factors influencing the public’s willingness to pay additional taxes to support CWD surveillance. Results suggested that risk perceptions, willingness to pay additional taxes depends on sociodemographic characteristics, venison consumption behavior, wildlife perceptions, and views of the environment. Individuals who have eaten venison are more likely to vote yes for the referendum. Positive perceptions of wildlife, venison consumption, concern for nature and participation in more wildlife related activities are associated with higher willingness to pay taxes. Willingness to pay for CWD surveillance is also dependent on exposure to different types of risk questions. Individuals who were exposed to questions related to all three risks had the highest willingness to pay for additional CWD surveillance. Also, individuals who were exposed to questions related to animal health and economic risk were willing to pay slightly more in taxes than individuals who were exposed to food safety risk questions.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.