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Attitudes to animal use of named species for different purposes: effects of speciesism, individualising morality, likeability and demographic factors

Marriott, Sara; Cassaday, Helen J.

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Authors

Sara Marriott

HELEN CASSADAY HELEN.CASSADAY@NOTTINGHAM.AC.UK
Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience



Abstract

Attitudes to animals and their use are becoming increasingly important for the success of conservation and environmental initiatives. Beliefs about animals, their perceived emotional appeal, as well as individuals’ moral capacities are all likely drivers of attitudes to animal use. In the present study, 320 participants completed an online survey containing the animal purpose questionnaire (APQ), the likeability and the speciesism scales, along with subscales of the moral foundations questionnaire and some demographic items. The results suggest that participants were least agreeable towards the use of pet species, but more neutral towards the use of profit and pest species. Individuals with a stronger liking for animals, greater individualising moral values and fewer speciesist attitudes were more likely to challenge animal use. In addition, individuals who identified as young female and non-meat-eating displayed heightened concern about animal use. Individualising morality and speciesism, along with personal factors such as eating orientation were significant predictors of attitudes to animal use as measured by the APQ. Speciesism was the strongest individual predictor of APQ totals, accounting for the highest proportion of the variance in the hierarchical regression. Overall the findings suggest that human versus non-human animal and pet versus non-pet are the key speciesism prejudices at work. Moreover, a general measure of human respect for the rights of other humans also predicted respect for the rights of animals. Thus the findings also suggest some similarity in the psychological mechanisms underpinning human–human and human–animal relations.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 31, 2022
Online Publication Date Apr 20, 2022
Publication Date Apr 20, 2022
Deposit Date Apr 22, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 22, 2022
Journal Humanities and Social Sciences Communications
Electronic ISSN 2662-9992
Publisher Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 1
Article Number 138
DOI https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-022-01159-8
Keywords General Economics, Econometrics and Finance; General Psychology; General Social Sciences; General Arts and Humanities; General Business, Management and Accounting
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/7786451
Publisher URL https://www.nature.com/articles/s41599-022-01159-8

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