Animal Studies Bibliography

Gallup, Jr., G. G., and Beckstead, J. W. 1988. Attitudes toward animal research. American Psychologist 43(6): 474-476.


To assess whether the impression spread by animal rights activists, that there is widespread opposition to animal research, is accurate. (No hypothesis given. A descriptive survey was undertaken, therefore there are no independent variables.)

Dependent variables/operational definitions

Series of 14 Likert-style attitudinal measures on issues including concern about animal suffering, belief in animal rights, value of animal research, and vegetarianism. (Questionnaire is reproduced in article.)


Overall, students appeared highly concerned about animals' pain and suffering (over 76%) but still recognized the benefits gained from animal research (85% preferred animal research to human suffering; 66.9% wanted drugs and procedures tested on animals before humans; 72.6% agreed that many medical advances came from animal research). Only 7% wanted animal research to be stopped, notably small since this is the main goal of animal rights activists.

MANOVA analysis indicated significant differences between men and women on 6 items: women were significantly more likely than men to be concerned about animal pain, to think that animals should have the same rights as people, to prefer human suffering and death to use of animal in research, and to have seriously considered becoming a vegetarian. Women were significantly less likely than males to believe that lab animals are better housed and cared for than many humans, or that new drugs and procedures should be tested on animals before they're used on humans.

MANOVA analysis also revealed significant differences across academic disciplines on 4 items. Humanities majors were more likely than social science or business majors (who were equally likely) to have considered becoming a vegetarian. Natural science majors were significantly more likely to agree that animal research was responsible for major medical breakthroughs than were social science, business, or humanities majors, in descending order of support. Humanities majors were over twice as likely as social science majors to support increased regulation of animal experimentation, and were considerably more likely than any other group to believe that animal research was unjustifiable and should be stopped (24% of humanities students believed this, versus a total of 6.2% from all other disciplines combined).

The analysis shows that, despite variation by major and sex, most students are concerned about animal pain and suffering but still support animal research because they recognize its benefits. Only a small number hold the same views as animal rights activists. Considerable support for increased regulations suggests that when speaking to students, scientists should discuss both the benefits of the research and the guidelines and professional codes guiding it.

Sample/population sampled

263 (94 male, 169 female) SUNY-Albany students responded to voluntary questionnaire before class lecture. Sample was approximately evenly distributed by year in school. Majors: 52% social science, 15% business, 8% humanities, 13% natural science, 12% undecided.


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