History of Animal Rights - Public Attitudes

Public Attitudes

According to a paper published in 2000 by Harold Herzog and Lorna Dorr, previous academic surveys of attitudes towards animal rights have tended to suffer from small sample sizes and non-representative groups. However, a number of factors appear to correlate with the attitude of individuals regarding the treatment of animals and animal rights. These include gender, age, occupation, religion, and level of education. There has also been evidence to suggest that prior experience with companion animals may be a factor in people's attitudes.

Gender has repeatedly been shown to be a factor in how people view animals, with women more likely to support animal rights than men. A 1996 study of adolescents by Linda Pifer suggested that factors that may partially explain this discrepancy include attitudes towards feminism and science, scientific literacy, and the presence of a greater emphasis on "nurturance or compassion" amongst women.

A 2007 survey to examine whether or not people who believed in evolution were more likely to support animal rights than creationists and believers in intelligent design found that this was largely the case – according to the researchers, the respondents who were strong Christian fundamentalists and believers in creationism were less likely to advocate for animal rights than those who were less fundamentalist in their beliefs. The findings extended previous research, such as a 1992 study which found that 48% of animal rights activists were atheists or agnostic.

Two surveys found that attitudes towards animal rights tactics, such as direct action, are very diverse within the animal rights communities. Near half (50% and 39% in two surveys) of activists do not support direct action. One survey concluded "it would be a mistake to portray animal rights activists as homogeneous."

Read more about this topic:  History Of Animal Rights

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