Definitions of biosecurity typically include generalised statements about how biosecurity risks on farms should be managed and contained. However, in reality, on-farm biosecurity practices are uneven and transfer differently between social groups, geographical scales and agricultural commodity chains. This paper reviews social science studies that examine on-farm biosecurity for animal health. We first review behavioural and psychosocial models of individual farmer behaviour/decisions. Behavioural approaches are prominent in biosecurity policy but have limitations because of a focus on individual farmer behaviour and intentions. We then review geographical and rural sociological work that emphasises social and cultural structures, contexts and norms that guide disease behaviour. Socio-cultural approaches have the capacity to extend the more commonly applied behavioural approaches and contribute to the better formulation of biosecurity policy and on-farm practice. This includes strengthening our understanding of ‘good farming' identity, tacit knowledge, farmer influence networks, and reformulating biosecurity as localised practices of care. Recognising on-farm biosecurity as practices of biosecure farming care offers a new way of engaging, motivating and encouraging farmers to manage and contain diseases on farm. This is critical given government intentions to devolve biosecurity governance to the farming industry.

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