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[Activism] Public Weighs In On Animal Welfare And Animal Rights

Focus groups reveal how people form attitudes about animals, what they think about animal welfare and animal rights, and how they might be swayed.

If you’re reading this, chances are you are already somewhat familiar with the history, nuances, and aims of animal advocacy. This puts you outside of the mainstream. Animal rights and animal welfare have been debated by philosophers, scholars, scientists, and advocates, all while the public remains largely unaware. 

If we wish to shift public opinion on animal issues, we need to gain an understanding of how the majority of people, who are uninvolved in animal advocacy, form their attitudes toward these issues.

A recent study sought to discover how civilians in the battle for animal rights form their attitudes, what their current attitudes are, and how receptive they are to changing them. To that end, researchers recruited 51 participants in New York City of diverse ages, races, education levels, and genders, all of whom believe that animals are due some level of protection. This sample was divided into six groups and guided through a discussion about their experiences and perceptions of animals, the current state of animal affairs, the ideal treatment of animals, and legal protection for animals. They were then presented with pro-animal rights messages and anti-animal rights messages, and their receptivity to each was gauged. Continue