Animal Studies Bibliography

Kellert, S. R. 1980. American attitudes toward and knowledge of animals: An update. International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems 1(2): 87-119.

Purpose : To describe American's attitudes toward animals, knowledge of animals, attitudes toward wildlife and habitat issues, species preferences, and size and traits of animal activity groups. [No hypotheses given.]

Operationalizations : Kellert's typology of attitudes toward animals: “Naturalistic (primary interest in and affection for wildlife and the outdoors), Ecologistic (primary concern for the environment as a system, for interrelations b/t wildlife species and natural habitats), Humanistic (primary interest in and strong affection for individual animals, principally pets), Moralistic (primary concern for the right and wrong treatment of animals, with strong opposition to exploitation of and cruelty toward animals), Scientistic (primary interest in the physical attributes and biological functioning of animals), Aesthetic (primary interest in the artistic and symbolic characteristics of animals), Utilitarian (Primary concern for the practical and material value of animals), Dominionistic (primary satisfactions derived from mastery and control over animals, typically in sporting situations), Negativistic (primary orientation an active avoidance of animals due to dislike or fear), Neutralistic (primary orientation a passive avoidance of animals due to indifference and lack of interest)” (89). Species preference: rank 33 species on 7-point like/dislike scale.

Findings : The most popular attitudes toward animals in American society are by far humanistic, moralistic, utilitarian, and negativistic. These four represent two clashes--utilitarian and moralistic clash over the proper use of animals, and negativistic and humanistic clash over caring for animals. These clashes suggest the dynamic nature of issues surrounding animals. The scientistic and dominionistic attitudes were the least popular. Naturalistic attitudes were strong among a minority but only weakly visible in the majority. A large number of subjects scored moderately on the ecologistic attitude but few had this as a strong orientation.

Nature ‘hunters,' members of environmental protection organizations, and birders scored highest on naturalistic attitudes. Lower scores came from anti-hunters, livestock raisers, and fishermen, but all animal activity groups scored higher than the general population on this scale. Among other social groupings, Alaskans, the college-educated, the affluent, professionals, people younger than 35, people from moderate-sized population areas, West Coast residents, and those who rarely/never attended religious services scored highest on naturalistic attitudes. The poorly educated, nonwhites, the elderly, poorer people, and people from farm backgrounds scored much lower than average on the naturalistic scale. After analysis of variance, however, marital status, occupation, and population of residence, and religious service attendance were found to be unrelated to naturalistic attitudes. Multiple classification analysis to show which groups were the most and least naturalistic found the most were grad-school and college-educated, Alaskan and West Coast residents, people under 35, and people who rarely/never attended religious services, while the least were blacks, people who didn't graduate high school, and people over 56.

Humane and environmental protection organization members, zoo visitors, anti-hunters, and scientific study hobbyists were most humanistic , while livestock producers, nature hunters, and birdwatchers were the least humanistic of the activity groups. Demographically, the most humanistic were people under 25, people earning $20-35,000, women, people who rarely/never attended religious services, and West Coasters. The least humanistic were farmers, people over 76, rural residents, and men. Analysis of variance showed that town size, education, marital status, and race were not significantly related.

West Coasters, the highly educated, clerical workers, women, people who rarely/never attended religious services, and people under 35 were the most moralistic . Rural people, farmers, Alaskans, Southerners, and men were the least moralistic. Among animal activity groups, humane and environmental protection organization members, anti-hunters, and scientific study hobbyists scored high, while recreation and meat hunters, sportsmen org. members, trappers, fishermen, and livestock producers scored low.

Farmers, the elderly, blacks, and Southerners were the most utilitarian , while people under 35, grad-school educated people, Alaskans, single people, and people living in areas with at least 1 million residents were the least utilitarian. Livestock producers, meat hunters, and fishermen were highly utilitarian, whereas humane, wildlife, and environmental protection org. members, scientific study hobbyists, backpackers, and birdwatchers were less utilitarian.

Trappers and nature, meat, and recreation hunters were the most dominionistic , while humane org. members and anti-hunters were the least dominionistic. This distinction suggests that dominionistic attitudes may be an important difference between hunters and their opponents. Zoo visitors and environmental protection org. members were also fairly low on the dominionistic scale.

No animal activity group showed any noticeable negativistic attitudes, although livestock producers scored slightly above the mean. Anti-hunters scored relatively high on negativistic attitudes, suggesting that their beliefs come from moral considerations rather than interest in animals. The most negativistic groups were the elderly, people with little education, and women, whereas the least negativistic were environmental and wildlife protection org. members, scientific study hobbyists, birdwatchers, the grad school-educated, Alaskans, people under 25, and people living places with less that 500 residents.

The most significant differences in general were found in the dimensions of education, region, age, and race. The less-well educated showed much less interest in and affection for animals than did the well-educated. Alaskans showed much more interest in and concern for animals that did any other regional group. Further, the Western states showed the most interest and the South showed the least. Differences between young and old were impressive on almost every scale but especially on the naturalistic, humanistic, and utilitarian scales. Nonwhites were relatively uninterested in animals.

All the animal activity groups were more knowledge able about animals than was the general public. Birdwatchers, nature hunters, scientific study hobbyists, and conservation org. members knew much more than did livestock producers, anti-hunters, zoo visitors, sport and recreation hunters, and fishermen. The well-educated (esp. graduate school), Alaskans, Rocky Mountain residents, males, and people who rarely/never attended religious services knew the most about animals, while African Americans, people who had not graduated high school, people over 75, people under 25, and residents of cities with at least 1 million residents knew the least. In general people knew very little about animals. People knew the most about animals that injure humans, pets, domestic animals, and general animal traits (e.g. “all adult birds have feathers”). People knew the least about invertebrates, taxonomic distinctions, and predators. When asked about awareness of major wildlife issues, people were most familiar with killing baby seals for coats, the effects of pesticides on birds, and the use of steel leghold traps. They were least aware of hunters using steel or lead shot in hunting waterfowl and the Tennessee Valley Authority snail darter controversy. In other words, people were more aware of emotional issues affecting “cute” and larger animals and less knowledgeable about things that affected nature in general or lower animals.

The most preferred species were dog, horse, robin, swan, and butterfly. The favorite fish was trout, favorite wild predator was the eagle, and the favorite wild mammal was the elephant. Among the least liked were cockroaches, mosquitoes, wasps, rats, rattlesnakes, and bats, all of which are known or believed to harm humans in some way. There was considerable negative feeling toward coyotes and wolves, interesting due to the predator control programs and the recent positive press for the wolf. There was considerable variation of views toward wolves, coyotes, lizards, skunks, vultures, bats, sharks, and cats. 12 factors can be identified that affect whether or not people like a species: size (larger is usually preferred), aesthetics, intelligence (ability to reason and feel), danger to humans, likelihood of damaging property, predatory tendencies, phylogenetic relatedness to humans, cultural and historical relationship, relation to human society (pet, farm animal, game animal, pest, native wildlife, exotic wildlife), texture (more familiar textures are preferred), mode of locomotion (again, more familiar is preferred), and the economic value of the species.

Rs were “overwhelmingly” (100) willing to force expensive changes in an energy development project to protect endangered species of eagle, mountain lion, trout, crocodile, and butterfly, but less than half were willing to do so for a plane, snake, or spider. People approved of stopping water projects for an unknown endangered fish when the projects were for nonessential uses (e.g. recreation) but wanted to continue projects for essential uses (drinking water, power, etc.). There was a significant but moderate willingness both to leave large areas of forest untouched to save the grizzly bear at the expense of forestry jobs and products and to stop filling in wetlands in a high-unemployment area with an industrial plant to protect an unknown endangered bird species. 8 factors are related to public willingness to protect endangered species: aesthetics, phylogenetic relatedness to humans, endangerment (greater sympathy when causes of endangerment are direct--persecution--rather than indirect--loss of habitat due to human expansion), economic value of the species, number and types of people affected, cultural and historical significance of the species, knowledge and familiarity with the animal, and the perceived humaneness of the activity endangering the animal (e.g. whether think the species feels pain). The well-educated, the younger, the single, residents of areas with more than a million people, and Alaskans all showed greater willingness to protect endangered species, while older people, people with less than an 8th grade education, farmers, rural residents, and Southerners showed much less willingness. With regard to predator control , the general public moderately opposed indiscriminate reductions through shooting and trapping, while the informed public opposed these more. The general public strongly opposed poisoning even though it was labeled the cheapest option. Livestock producers strongly favored both methods. Large majorities supported hunting individual coyotes known to have killed livestock and relocating coyotes to areas with no livestock (labeled the most expensive option). Livestock producers gave mixed responses to the former and we strongly opposed to the latter. This shows people's concern over the humaneness of the method chosen for predator control. The vast majority of people approved of subsistence hunting and hunting for meat, and most disapproved of hunting for recreation, sport, or trophy, although 64% approved of recreational hunting if the animal was used for meat. 70% disapproved of the steel leghold trap , with no difference between the informed and uninformed. Almost no trappers opposed its use. Most approved of killing whales if a useful product was produced and they were not endangered, whereas most were willing to pay more for tuna to reduce dolphin deaths. This is perhaps due to the history of whaling and the lack of similar history with regard to porpoises. There was a moderate but significant willingness to protect habitat at the expense of human benefits (homes, lower prices, etc.).

In general, these results show a basic caring for and interest in animals but a lack of knowledge and much conflict among groups' attitudes toward animals. These conflicts will have to be addressed if humane treatment of animals and preservation goals are to be advanced.

Sample/population sampled : 3107 randomly selected Americans from all states but Hawaii, with oversampling in Rocky Mountain regions and Alaska; sample had slightly higher SES than general population; to supplement above interviews, a mail survey addressed members of National Cattlemen's, American Sheep Producer's, and National Trappers' Associations and subscribers to Vegetarian Times



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