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Some animals are more equal than others: Validation of a new scale to measure how attitudes to animals depend on species and human purpose of use

Bibby, Peter A.; Bradley, Alexander; Mennie, Neil; Bibby, Peter A; Cassaday, Helen J.


Peter A. Bibby

Alexander Bradley

Neil Mennie

Peter A Bibby

Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience


I. Anna S. Olsson


© 2020 Bradley et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Globally, many millions of animals are used by humans every year and much of this usage causes public concern. A new scale, devised to measure attitudes to animal use in relation to the purpose of use and species, the Animal Purpose Questionnaire (APQ), was completed by in total 483 participants, 415 British nationals and 68 participants from 39 other countries. The APQ was presented in two survey formats, alongside an established Animal Attitudes Scale (AAS). In both surveys, participants also provided demographic details to provide a context to their attitudes to animals. As might be expected, and consistent with the validity of the new scale, overall scores on the AAS and APQ were highly correlated. However, the APQ provided a more differentiated measure of attitudes to animal use across a variety of settings. The results showed that there was overall higher levels of agreement with the use of animals in medical research and basic science, less endorsement for food production and pest control, and the use of animals for other cultural practices was generally disapproved of, irrespective of species. Participants overall disagreed with the use of rabbits, monkeys, badgers, tree shrews (survey 1), chimpanzees, dogs, dolphins and parrots (survey 2), but were neutral about the use of rats, mice, pigs, octopus, chickens, zebrafish (survey 1), carp, chickens, pigs, pigeons, rabbits and rats (survey 2). Interactions between species and purpose were largely driven by the consideration of using diverse species for food production. In general, females and vegetarians expressed less agreement with the use of animals with some differences by purpose of use. Pet keeping consistently predicted reduced willingness to use animals for basic science (only). The APQ provides a new tool to unpack how public attitudes depend on the intersectionality of demographics, species and purpose of use.


Bibby, P. A., Bradley, A., Mennie, N., Bibby, P. A., & Cassaday, H. J. (2020). Some animals are more equal than others: Validation of a new scale to measure how attitudes to animals depend on species and human purpose of use. PLoS ONE, 15(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 6, 2020
Online Publication Date Jan 21, 2020
Publication Date Jan 21, 2020
Deposit Date Jan 13, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jan 22, 2020
Journal PLoS ONE
Electronic ISSN 1932-6203
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 1
Article Number e0227948
Keywords General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology; General Agricultural and Biological Sciences; General Medicine
Public URL
Publisher URL


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