Animal Studies Bibliography

Driscoll, Janis Wiley. 1992. Attitudes toward animal use. Anthrozoos 5(1): 32-39.

Previous studies on attitudes toward animals have 2 major problems: too much use of college students (especially problematic since more general samples have found age and education to be related to these views) and vague questions (e.g. it is all right to do research on animals) that only extremists on either end could effectively answer. [No hypothesis given.]

Measurement : 35 items for Rs to rate on 5-part scale, acceptable to unacceptable; issues: medical research, behavioral research, product-testing research, educational use of animals, use of animals to make luxury garments, and animals as pests; always specifies species and specific actions (e.g. a researcher gives mice electric shocks to see how fast they learn) and uses same scenario in multiple items with different species.

Findings : There were significant differences in level of acceptance of the different categories of use (except for medical research where animal is killed vs. med. research where animal is not killed and behavioral research and medical research categories, and product-testing vs. pests was barely significant). There were also significant differences in views when different animals (monkeys, cats, dogs, mice, rats, frogs, fish, invertebrates) were used. The only non-significant differences were cats v. monkeys, fish v. rats. fish v. frogs, and rats v. frogs; barely significant were monkeys v. dogs and fish v. mice. Females rated animal uses significantly less acceptable than did males, as did pet-owners vs. non-owners, Catholics or people with no religion vs. Protestants, and younger people (ages 14-19) vs. older people (ages 20-29). However, gender, religion, and pet ownership together only explained 5% of the variance, and age contributed nothing. This suggests that there is not strong public opposition to animal use--the overall mean of all items was 3.02 (neutral) despite 1/3 of the sample being college students, who are normally less accepting. People did generally oppose product-testing research, animals for luxury garments, and killing annoying but harmless animals (e.g. cat howling outside). The species used in the example strongly affected how it was perceived, with the same brain surgery , for example, rejected on monkeys and dogs but accepted on rats and frogs. Rs were very consistent in their attitudes, suggesting that attitudes toward animals are hard--set in childhood. The lack of effect by demographic variables, though, is thus perplexing, perhaps suggesting that the childhood attitudes are developed from experiences rather than socio-cultural background. Responses also suggested superficiality in public attitudes toward animal use (e.g. people always rejected use of cats, dogs, etc. except somewhat inexplicably approving dissection of dead cats to learn anatomy; or Herzog's moral status of mice point). We can't start to address the complex issues of animal welfare until we understand how people's attitudes develop and change.

Sample/population sampled : Convenience sample of 495 adults, mostly co-workers, family, etc. of students in research methods class. Age ranged 14-77, median 27; 40% male; 33% students, 14.5% clerical/accounting, 11.4% business/managerial, 11.4% service, 5.1% education. 70% had at least one pet, 25% had lived on a farm for at least a year, 5% vegetarians. 51% no religion, 20.4% Catholic, 17% traditional Protestant denom.s, 7% nontraditional Christian, 4.6% other. Not random so can't be extrapolated to any population.



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