Original Research

Do predator attacks on productive species and the respective economic losses influence the psychological distress of farmers in Uruguay? A cross sectional study


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Paul Ruiz
1 PhD, Professor *

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Juan Pablo Damián

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Gustavo Benitez

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Pablo Ernesto Bobadilla

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Maximiliano Piedracueva


1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad de la Republica, Lasplaces 1550, Montevideo 11600, Uruguay

ACCEPTED: 13 September 2023

early abstract:

Purpose: In Uruguay productive species suffer attacks from different predators, causing injuries and economic losses, leading to great concern for farmers. The objective of this study was to determine if predator attacks on productive species during the year 2021 influence the psychological distress of farmers with a cross sectional study.
Methods: Four hundred and forty-two farmers from all over the country were surveyed with questions according to the Kessler psychological distress scale like dependent variable, and predator attacks received in 2021, like independent variable.
Findings: Of the total number of farmers surveyed, those who received predator attacks on their animals were approximately 49% (216/442). Farmers whose productive species received attacks in 2021 had higher levels of psychological distress than those who did not receive attacks (p<0.01). Additionally, farmers who reported the highest levels of psychological distress had more productive animal deaths (and more economic losses) from predator attacks in 2021 than those who did not.
Conclusion: In conclusion, the losses of productive animals and their economic costs negatively influenced the psychological distress of farmers. This information highlights the need to generate public policies about farmers well-being that help them in these situations.
Keywords: mental health, animal welfare, livestock, psychological distress.