Society and Animals

Published by Brill Academic Publishers
Online ISSN: 1568-5306
Print ISSN: 1063-1119
In recent years, the issue of experimentation upon nonhuman animals has become the subject of media attention. One aspect of the media presentation is the status attributed to claims-makers on either side of the issue. Research suggests that perceived expertise of the source of arguments can play a role in attitudes formed by audiences. This study examines mainstream print and broadcast media presentation of the status of individuals quoted regarding the issue of animal experimentation. Those supporting continued experimentation are significantly more likely to be presented as professionals or experts. Attitude formation is discussed in light of these findings.
Young adults' attitudes toward the use of animals in scientific research were examined by using data from the Longitudinal Study of American Youth (LSAY). A structural equation model was estimated using LISREL8 to examine the development of these attitudes. Gender was found to have the greatest total effect on opposition to animal research, while feminist attitudes had the second greatest total effect. Feminist attitudes, 10th grade science achievement, adult scientific literacy, general attitudes toward science, partisan affiliation, and a number of early home influences each explained part, but not all of the gender difference in attitudes about scientific research.
This article examines the role of dissection in the teaching of secondary biology and environmental science, within the context of the development of attitudes toward animals. Retrospective data concerning their experience in high school with dissection for 191 undergraduate education students are described, and their reported use of alternatives to invasive animal study are evaluated in relation to specific educational objectives in secondary science. It was found that most students were required to perform dissections, that many but not most experienced negative and stable emotional reactions, and that teachers employed limited alternatives to dissection in their classes. The implications of this for secondary science teaching and for teacher education are discussed.
The medical practice of declawing has received much political debate over the past few years. Yet, empirical and theoretical research on how this practice is maintained and the ethical positions of those who actually participate in this work is lacking. Drawing from 9 months of ethnographic fieldwork in a feline-specific veterinary hospital and open-ended interviews with veterinarians and staff, this study examines veterinary staff members' attitudes toward, and strategies for, dealing with the medical practice of declawing. Specifically, findings show that a number of staff felt uncomfortable with their participation in onychectomy (declawing) and relied heavily on organizational support structures to cope both with these feelings and the moral ambiguity about the practice. Relying on these structures, the veterinarians and their staff are able simultaneously to define felines as subjects worthy of respect for their quality of life, protect their own self-identity as people who work toward the best interest of animals, and paradoxically support action toward felines that they find morally objectionable.
We examined the relationship between personal moral philosophy, gender, and judgments of the effectiveness of materials designed by advocacy groups to sway public opinion about biomedical research using nonhuman animals. Twenty-six male and 74 female undergraduates evaluated 16 advertisements or brochures developed by groups which either supported or opposed animal research. The subjects also completed the Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ) and were offered the opportunity to sign postcards urging their congressperson to either support or eliminate federal funding of animal research. Females perceived the anti-animal research materials to be more effective than did the males, a difference that was not found in the case of the pro-animal research materials. The idealism dimension of the EPQ and gender accounted for a significant portion of the variation in judgments of the effectiveness of the anti-animal research materials but not the pro-animal research materials. The pattern of postcard signing was predicted by the subjects' evaluations of the stimulus materials but not gender or the EPQ variables.
A comparative analysis was made of the public's attitudes toward the use of animals in scientific research in 15 different nations. The intensity of opposition to animal research was found to vary from relatively low levels in Japan and the United States to much higher levels in France, Belgium, and Great Britain. More women than men were opposed to animal research in all 15 nations. Scientific knowledge, or the lack of knowledge, was not found to have a consistent relationship with attitudes toward animal research. Concern about the environment was found to be related to opposition to animal research in some western European nations, in particular West Germany. Cluster analysis was used to group the nations into four patterns based on intensity of opposition, level of opposition, gender differences in opposition, and the relationship between attitudes toward animal research and both environmental concern and scientific knowledge.
This article addresses some of the ways in which the development of xenotransplantation, the use of nonhuman animals as organ donors, are presented in media accounts. Although xenotransplantation raises many ethical and philosophical questions, media coverage typically minimizes these. At issue are widespread public concerns about the transgression of species boundaries, particularly those between humans and other animals. We consider how these are constructed in media narratives, and how those narratives, in turn, rely on particular scientific discourses that posit species boundary crossing as unproblematic.
Percentage of Participants Representing Each Occupation
Number and Percentage of Participants
This study explored possible identification of Perpetration-induced Traumatic Stress (PITS) in workers whose occupations required euthanizing nonhuman animals and determining whether event or person-related factors influenced symptoms. The sample included 148 animal workers: veterinarians, veterinary nurses, and research and animal shelter staff. The Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) assessed traumatic stress. Experimenters constructed additional scales measuring satisfaction with social support, participation in various types of training, and concern over animal death. More than 70% of participants reported affinity toward animals had strongly influenced their occupation selection. Half the sample perceived animal death--particularly euthanasia--as one of the least desirable jobs. Of the sample, 11% reported experiencing moderate levels of traumatic symptoms. The study found lower levels of euthanasia-related stress were associated with increased satisfaction with social support and length of time working with animals. Those who reported high levels of concern about animal death reported higher levels of euthanasia-related stress. The study found occupational context was not associated with different levels of euthanasia-related stress symptoms--even though reasons for administering euthanasia differed significantly between occupations.
Regulations surrounding laboratory animal care have tried to address aspects of an image of laboratory animal cruelty publicized by animal rights activists. This image of cruelty, however, is not consistent with the experiences of those charged with the day-to-day care of laboratory animals. This article examines the incongruities between the public image of cruelty to animals in laboratories as promoted by animal rights activists, and the experiences of laboratory animal care staff who apply and enforce laboratory animal care regulations. In doing so, the article illuminates why regulations surrounding laboratory animal care are difficult to comply with on the part of the policy enforcers, and are continuously contested by both animal rights activists and animal research personnel.
Animal rights campaigners and scientists working with animals completed anonymous questionnaires in which they were asked to report, not only on their own beliefs and ideas about the animal experimentation debate, but also on those they perceived the opposing group to hold. Both groups of participants tended to have a negative and somewhat extreme view of the other. But they did have an accurate grasp of the arguments and defenses commonly offered on both sides of the debate, and showed some agreement concerning the relative capacity of different animals to suffer. Differences appeared in the level of the phylogenetic hierarchy at which participants thought animals might be capable of suffering, and in their decision-making processes regarding the admissibility of animal experiments.
Is nonhuman animal-assisted therapy (AAT) a form of exploitation? After exploring possible moral vindications of AAT and after establishing a distinction between "use" and "exploitation," the essay distinguishes between forms of animal-assisted therapy that are morally unobjectionable and those modes of it that ought to be abolished.
By placing the title question alongside five comparative questions and offering answers to the whole set as given by seven imaginary respondents, this paper analyzes the question's deceptiveness and the inconsistency of its implied claims. Apart from ambiguities of situation, history, and agency, the question's demand for a choice between "your child" and "nonhuman animals" obscures a field of other values regarding (1) species, (2) family ties, and (3) the wrongness-in-itself (or otherwise) of the experiments envisioned. This paper argues that while a "No" answer to the title question does not, as intended by the questioner, support the experimental status quo, even a "Yes" answer does not reflect a choice between one's own child and animals.
This article identifies some of the important issues that underlie student-teacher conflicts regarding animal experimentation and dissection in psychology education. Understanding the reasons why students object to animal laboratories, why some teachers may refuse students access to non-animal alternatives, and why other teachers support student choice is an important first step in resolving student-teacher disputes regarding the use of animals in the psychology classroom. The article discusses why establishing an openly declared student choice policy at schools that use animals in psychology education is a reasonable thing to do and describes how a student choice policy works in practice.
This study uses qualitative methodology to examine why people have different attitudes toward different types of nonhuman animal use. Seventeen participants took part in a semi-structured interview. The study used Grounded Theory to analyze the interviews and developed a model that consists of 4 major themes: (a) "attitudes toward animals," (b) "knowledge of animal use procedures," (c) "perceptions of choice," and (d) "cost-benefit analysis." The findings illustrate that cognitive processing, characteristics of the species of animal being used, and the type of animal use can all influence attitudes toward animal use. Because previous research has focused on participant variables such as age and gender to explain variance in attitudes toward animal use (Furnham & Pinder, 1990; Kellert & Berry, 1981) and measured attitudes toward animal use in general (rather than distinguishing between different types of use) (Armstrong & Hutchins, 1996), these findings can add to knowledge of people's views on animal use. This paper discusses how such views may be justified and maintained.
Historically, treatment for pain relief has varied according to the social status of the sufferer. A similar tendency to make arbitrary distinctions affecting pain relief was found in an ethnographic study of animal research laboratories. The administration of pain-relieving drugs for animals in laboratories differed from standard practice for humans and, perhaps, for companion animals. Although anesthesia was used routinely for surgical procedures, its administration was sometimes haphazard. Analgesics, however, were rarely used. Most researchers had never thought about using analgesics and did not consider the subject worthy of serious attention. Scientists interviewed for this study agreed readily that animals are capable offeeling pain, but such assertions were muted by an overriding view of lab animals as creatures existing solely for the purposes of research. As a result, it was the exceptional scientist who was able to focus on anything about the animal's subjective experience that might lie outside the boundaries of the research protocol.
In this paper, we analyze the ways in which the use of animals is described in the "Methods" sections of scientific papers. We focus particularly on aspects of the language of scientific narrative and what it conveys to the reader about the animals. Scientific writing, for example, tends to omit details of how the animals are cared for. Perhaps more importantly, it is constructed in ways that tend to minimize what is happening to the animal; thus, animal death is obscured by euphemisms, omission, or circumlocutions. What is done to animals is, moreover, often subordinate in the text to the details of experimental procedures and apparatus. We consider how such writing supports a particular kind of image of the "animal" in science, and also creates an impression that what happens to animals is somehow devoid of human agency. This impression, we argue, contributes to the way science is perceived by a wider public.
An increasing shortage of transplant donor organs currently results in an escalating number of preventable human deaths. Xenotransplantation, the use of animal organs for transplantation into humans, is now heralded as medicine's most viable answer to the urgent and insurmountable human organ scarcity. Although claimed to be a biomedical prerogative, xenotransplantation is a cultural phenomenon - a procedure engaging both the physical and symbolic manipulation of human and nonhuman bodies, thereby transforming corporeality, identity, and culture. Biomedical and scientific discourses about xenografts have obscured issues related to nonhuman animals and also could be distressful to human organ recipients, revealing that the xenograft may not be widely embraced.
This paper explores the many meanings attached to the designation, "the rodent in the laboratory" (rat or mouse). Generations of selective breeding have created these rodents. They now differ markedly from their wild progenitors, nonhuman animals associated with carrying all kinds of diseases. Through selective breeding, they have moved from the rats of the sewers to become standardized laboratory tools and (metaphorically) saviors of humans in the fight against disease. This paper sketches two intertwined strands of metaphors associated with laboratory rodents. The first focuses on the idea of medical/scientific progress; in this context, the paper looks at laboratory rodents often depicted (in advertising for laboratory products) as epitomizing medical triumph or serving as helpers or saviors. The second strand concerns the ambiguous status of the laboratory rodent who is both an animal (bites) and not an animal (data). The paper argues that, partly because of these ambiguous and multiple meanings, the rodent in the laboratory is doubly "othered"--first in the way that animals so often are made other to ourselves and then other in the relationship of the animal in the laboratory to other animals.
The goal of this resource column is two-fold: to introduce researchers and other readers to a new resource,, and to demonstrate its use. The website was developed in response to the fatal torturing of Bert the cat in Del Mar, California. The site collects animal abuse cases from a number of sources and enters the variables into a publicly accessible, interactive, searchable database. For some cases, there also are photographs of the victims. A visitor to the site can request cases and perpetrators according to a number of different variables, such as disposition of the case (convicted, alleged, dismissed); age of perpetrator; gender of perpetrator, and type of abuse (Table 1). The database also reports sentences given to convicted individuals and allows site visitors to indicate their opinion on the punishment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
On September 22, 1998, California Governor Pete Wilson signed Senate Bill 1785 into law, dramatically affecting the entire Califomia animal sheltering community. Dubbed the "Hayden law" by the animal protection community after the bill's sponsor, it represents the state of Califomia's attempt to legislate a solution to both the companion animal overpopulation problem and the friction between the agencies trying to end it.The persistence of the bill's primary supporters, a Los Angeles veterinarian and a UCLA law school professor and the overall lack of opposition to it helped SB 1785 sail through the California legislature. Because of the scope of the bill and the immense cost of implementation, its passage shocked many in the sheltering community.This case study highlights the consequences of legislation that was crafted based on worse case scenarios and over which there was little collaborative effort. It concludes with suggestions that might be useful to other states contemplating similar such legislation.
Between 1820 and 1870, middle-class Americans became convinced of the role nonhuman animals could play in socializing children. Companion animals in and around the household were the medium for training children into self-consciousness about, and abhorrence of, causing pain to other creatures including, ultimately, other people. In an age where the formation of character was perceived as an act of conscious choice and self-control, middle-class Americans understood cruelty to animals as a problem both of individual or familial deficiency and of good and evil. Training children to be self-conscious about kindness became an important task of parenting. Domestic advisors also argued that learning kindness was critical for boys who were developmentally prone to cruelty and whose youthful cruelty had implications both for the future of family life and for the body politic. The practice of pet keeping, where children became stewards of companion animals who were then able to teach young humans such virtues as gratitude and fidelity, became a socially meaningful act.
This article considers the implications of the early development of London Zoo. It gives insight into the differences between the ideal image of the zoo, the real situation under which the zoo was managed, and popular perceptions of the zoo. The discussion explores three areas: the heterogeneous audience of the zoo, the aestheticization of the zoo and its animal displays, and the pedagogy of observing nonhuman animals in the zoo. The zoo's ideals confronted various difficulties, while the pedagogy of zoo visits, which developed within a frame of natural theology, was subject to various applications. The article argues that these differences were not evidence of the zoo's failure to consolidate its ideological backbone in Victorian society. It concludes that such divergence characterized the zoo's unique capacity both to evoke and to receive competing ideals, anxieties and criticism.
This article analyzes how a number of writers in English articulated their attitudes toward southern Africa's indigenous mammal megafauna from c.1840 to just before the First World War. In changing contexts of declining wild animal numbers, it examines how attitudes and the expression of those attitudes—together with developments in biology—altered with the modernization of government and the economy. To some extent, it also explores the human and other values placed on certain species of animals, including ideas about extinction, notions of what constitutes "vermin," and evolving opinions on nature and environmental conservation. Some of the concerns discussed here include lines of thinking that continue, albeit much altered, into our own time.
There were individuals in the vegetarian movement in Britain who believed that to refrain from eating flesh, fowl, and fish while continuing to partake of dairy products and eggs was not going far enough. Between 1909 and 1912, The Vegetarian Society's journal published a vigorous correspondence on this subject. In 1910, a publisher brought out a cookery book entitled, No Animal Food. After World War I, the debate continued within the Vegetarian Society about the acceptability of animal by-products. It centered on issues of cruelty and health as well as on consistency versus expediency. The Society saw its function as one of persuading as many people as possible to give up slaughterhouse products and also refused journal space to those who abjured dairy products. The year 1944 saw the word "vergan" coined and the breakaway Vegan Society formed.
This paper profiles the animal activism of the late American animal activist Henry Spira, whose campaign strategies and tactics suggest a number of links with the nineteenth century pioneers of animal protection as well as with approaches favored by contemporary animal activists. However, the article argues that Spira's style of animal advocacy differed from conventional approaches in the mainstream animal movement in that he preferred to work with, rather than against, animal user industries. To this end, he pioneered the use of "reintegrative shaming" (J. Braithwaite, 1989) in animal protection, an accommodation strategy that relied on moralizing with opponents as opposed to the more common approach in animal advocacy of adversarial vilification, and hence, disintegrative shaming. The article describes the framing of some of Spira's best-known anti-cruelty campaigns and his use of reintegrative shaming to induce animal users to change their ways.
This article describes the nature of animal abuse and the response of the criminal justice system to all cruelty cases prosecuted by the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals between 1975 and 1996. Dogs were the most common target; when combined with cats, these domestic animals composed the vast majority of incidents. Almost all of these animals were owned, and females were the majority of complainants. Suspects were almost always young males, and most of the time they allegedly shot, beat, stabbed, or threw their victims. Reportedly, adults were more likely than minors to abuse dogs, shoot them, and commit such acts alone rather than in a group, while minors were more likely to abuse cats, beat them, and commit such acts with peers present. Less than half of the alleged abusers were found guilty in court, one-third were fined, less than one-quarter had to pay restitution, one-fifth were put on probation, one-tenth were sent to jail, and an even smaller percent were required to undergo counseling or perform community service.
This paper examines the role that religious belief plays in societies' treatment of nonhuman animals, first asking two questions. Does religious belief continue to play a role today in societies' treatment of nonhuman animals, and should it? The paper discusses the interaction of (a) religion, (b) secular ethics, and (c) the law. As with a three-legged stool, each leg or component relies on the next for support. Religious values and claims, as features of the ethical framework by which many people live, have daily implications for nonhuman animals. On a sliding scale, negative to positive, a religious point of view may affect other animals in different ways. Beliefs - religious in nature and origin - about other animals sometimes stand behind the claims and ethical formulations of avowedly nonreligious people and institutions and may be of some interest to philosophers and historians. The paper concludes that only through consideration and involvement of the three separate, yet inter-connected, components can animal abuse be effectively addressed.
This article discusses issues relevant to recent efforts to increase veterinary reporting of cases of animal mistreatment in the USA. These issues include mandatory vs. voluntary reporting, client confidentiality obligations, the legal definitions of animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect in state laws, ethical conflicts between a veterinarian's obligations to animals and clients, perceived vs. real barriers to reporting, the circumstances under which a veterinarian is likely to encounter animal mistreatment in practice, and the lack of accepted diagnostic criteria for the "battered pet."
A survey of university students tested whether committing animal abuse during childhood was related to approval of interpersonal violence against children and women in families. Respondents who had abused an animal as children or adolescents were significantly more likely to support corporal punishment, even after controlling for frequency of childhood spanking, race, biblical literalism, and gender. Those who had perpetrated animal abuse were also more likely to approve of a husband slapping his wife. Engaging in childhood violence against less powerful beings— animals—may generalize to the acceptance of violence against less powerful members of families and society—women and children. This paper discusses the implications of this process.
Research (Baldry, 2003; Flynn, 1999, 2000a; Henry, 2004) has linked witnessing abuse to nonhuman animals with the committal of such acts. This study reports frequency data based on adolescents' self-reported witnessing of animal abuse and involvement in animal-directed behaviors. The study investigates associations between witnessing abuse and engaging in both positive and negative animal-directed behaviors. 281 adolescents, 12-18 years of age, completed measures of animal cruelty and the humane treatment of animals. As predicted, the study found a history of witnessing animal abuse associated with significantly higher levels of animal cruelty. The study reported significantly higher levels of cruelty for those who had witnessed a friend, relative, parent, or sibling abuse an animal and significantly lower levels for those who had witnessed a stranger abuse an animal. Participants who "Frequently" witnessed animal abuse reported significantly higher levels of cruelty than those who viewed abuse "A few times". There was no association found between humane treatment of animals and the witnessing of animal abuse. Positive influences, peer mentors and humane education, would help to combat this cycle of abuse.
This paper reviews evidence of a progression from animal abuse to interhuman violence. It finds that the "progression thesis" is supported not by a coherent research program but by disparate studies often lacking methodological and conceptual clarity. Set in the context of a debate about the theoretical adequacy of concepts like "animal abuse" and "animal cruelty," it suggests that the link between animal abuse and interhuman violence should be sought not only in the personal biographies of those individuals who abuse animals but also in those institutionalized social practices where animal abuse is routine, widespread, and socially acceptable.
The maltreatment of animals, usually companion animals, may occur in homes where there is domestic violence, yet we have limited information about the prevalence of such maltreatment. We surveyed the largest shelters for women who are battered in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Shelters were selected if they provided overnight facilities and programs or services for children. Ninety-six percent of the shelters responded. Analysis revealed that it is common for shelters to serve women and children who talk about companion animal abuse. However, only a minority of respondents indicated that they systematically ask about companion animal maltreatment in their intake interview. We discuss the implications of these results for domestic violence programs, animal welfare organizations, and programs serving children of women who are battered by their partners.
The past decade has seen an increase in interest relating to the correlates and determinants of attitudes about nonhuman animals, especially attitudes about the use or abuse of animals. However, little research has explicitly addressed individual differences in attitudes about the neglect of animals. The current study employs a factor-analytic approach to explore (a) whether attitudes about animal neglect can be reliably differentiated from attitudes about animal abuse and (b) whether the relationship between attitudes about animal neglect and animal abuse differs as a function of gender. Results indicated that attitudes about abuse and neglect can be reliably differentiated among both men and women. However, the structure of these attitudes appears to differ substantially by sex. This paper discusses theoretical and practical implications of these results.
In recent years, school violence has become an issue of great concern among psychologists, educators, and law-enforcement officials. The purpose of the current study was to examine the relationship between bullying, victimization, and abuse of nonhuman animals. The study assessed bullying and victimization experiences, animal abuse, and attitudes toward animals within a sample of 185 college males. Results of the study highlighted the important distinction between males involved in single episodes of animal abuse and those involved in multiple episodes of animal abuse. Further, results highlighted the significance of the bully/victim phenomenon with regard to participation in multiple acts of animal abuse. Those who were above the median with regard to both victimization and perpetration of physical bullying exhibited the highest rates of involvement in multiple acts of animal abuse and also exhibited the lowest levels of sensitivity with regard to cruelty-related attitudes pertaining to animals. The study discusses theoretical mechanisms linking bullying and animal abuse as well as directions for future research.
Studies of observer responses to human-to-human abuse have found that both an observer's mood and the similarity of the victim to the observer affect the observer's desire to help the victim and punish the offender. The present study examined the extent to which similarity and mood also shape observer responses to human-to-animal abuse.We first manipulated participants' mood by giving non-contingent feedback on a hidden word task (positive, negative, or no feedback). Participants then read a scenario describing an instance of animal abuse (using four different specific kinds of animals and six general species categories). Results showed that participants in a better mood recommended harsher punishment for the offender.They also recommended harsher punishment for the abuse of animals more similar to humans. Similarity and mood interacted on fine recommendationsmdash;better mood accentuated the similarity effect. Empathy for an animal positively correlated with punishment recommendations for the offender. The study discusses directions for future research and theory development.
Agricultural reports and guides, nonhuman animal welfare studies, and animal rights reports attempt to document and convey the condition of nonhuman animals in agriculture. These disciplines tend to resist a prolonged and methodically versatile examination of individual animals. In his pioneer work, Lovenheim (2002), The author produced such a biographical documentation of calves in the dairy and meat industries. He provided an exceptionally prolonged and detailed tracing of their lives as individuals, establishing an emotional attachment in both documenter and reader. Yet, sentiments for the farmers, typical urban conceptions of communication with nonhuman animals, and difficulties in obtaining the relevant information limit Lovenheim's success and imply similar difficulties in other cases.
Sociologists have largely ignored the role of animals in society. This article argues that human-animal interaction is a topic worthy of sociological consideration and applies a sociological analysis to one problematic aspect of human-animal relationships - animal cruelty. The article reformulates animal cruelty, traditionally viewed using a psychopathological model, from a sociological perspective.The article identifies social and cultural factors related to the occurrence of animal cruelty. Ultimately, animal cruelty is a serious social problem that deserves attention in its own right, not just because of its association with human violence.
Denying special traits like the use of language to nonhuman animals has often been a basis for the creation of a stand-alone human sphere, apart from and above the animal world and the environmental milieu. Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology shows that human communication arises from the semiosis in the extra-human world and is not self-contained. Given many recent insights in scientific studies of nonhuman animals, only a few of which are cited here, it becomes impossible to say that animals are mute, reactive entities. They too share many of the same features of communication with human beings. That said, articulating an interspecies ethic of sympathy or concern must take into account species and individual differences.
This qualitative study of 27 women animal activists examines the risks and rewards that accompany a commitment to animal rights activism. One of the common beliefs about animal rights activists is that their political choices are fanatic and unyielding, resulting in rigid self-denial. Contrary to this notion, the women in this study experienced both the pain and the joy of their transformation toward animal activism. Activism took an enormous toll on their personal relationships, careers, and emotional well being. They struggled as friendships ended and family relationships suffered; some experienced harassment and abuse as a result of their efforts. Yet the women were just as likely to extol the rewards and pleasure gained from their participation in the cause of animal liberation. These included a heightened awareness of political issues, greater self-confidence, the feeling that they were making a difference in the world, and the joy of living a “more meaningful life.”
This article reports original research conducted among animal rights activists and elites in Switzerland and the United States, and the finding that activism functioned in activists' and elites' lives like religious belief. The study used reference sampling to select Swiss and American informants. Various articles and activists have identified both latent and manifest quasi-religious components in the contemporary movement. Hence, the research followed upon these data and anecdotes and tested the role of activism in adherents' lives. Using extensive interviews, the research discovered that activists and elites conform to the five necessary components of Yinger's definition of functional religion: intense and memorable conversion experiences, newfound communities of meaning, normative creeds, elaborate and well-defined codes of behavior, and cult formation. The article elaborates on that schema in the context of animal rights belief, elucidates the deeply meaningful role of activism within a filigree of meaning, and concludes that the movement is facing schismatic forces not dissimilar to redemptive and religious movements
Dr. Kemmerer speaking at a conference in Canada
This paper is an exploration of verbal activism and animal liberation, starting with a brief explanation of Wittgenstein's (1953) views on the nature and role of language. A discussion of lexical gaps, linguistic change, and verbal activism follows: The paper introduces the word, "anymal," to fill a lexical gap and to provide a form of verbal activism. This article can be found here:
The present study of the psychology of animal rights activists utilizes a qualitative analytic method based on two forms of data: a set of questionnaire protocols completed by grassroots activists and of autobiographical accounts by movement leaders. The resultant account keys on the following descriptives: (1) an attitude of caring, (2) suffering as an habitual object of perception, and (3) the aggressive and skillful uncovering and investigation of instances of suffering. In a final section, the investigator discusses tensions and conflicts arising from these three themes and various ways of attempting to resolve them.
Purebred dog rescuers are doing their part to reduce the problems of homeless pets and pet overpopulation. The volunteers studied are doing the daily and invisible work of saving dogs. Because of their perception of the animal rights movement, however, they do not consider themselves part of the animal welfare or animal rights movement, nor do they care to be. Dog rescue organizations agree with academics and activist organizations on the cause of the problem of homeless pets and pet overpopulation, but they differ on the theoretical, political, and ideological solutions to the problem. This paper focuses on the disagreements between rescue workers, activists, and academics and asks whether there is a place for rescue workers within the larger animal protection movement.
This discussion focuses on the rationales employed by animal rights activists to explain their involvement in, and support of, protest tactics that are controversial both inside and outside the animal rights movement. The paper centers on the use of residential picketing (“home demos”) in a campaign against a private, multinational animal testing firm. Using ethnographic data and semistructured interviews with activists, the discussion demonstrates that these activists are aware of the marginality of their tactics. Despite some ambivalence, however, activists accept full responsibility for their actions and justify their behavior by utilizing supportive rationales that stress the perceived efficacy of home demos. Specifically, they appeal to the immediate and long-term psychological and direct and indirect material impacts on protest targets. These narratives are explored as constructions that are shaped and disseminated within the context of the state's preoccupation with “ecoterrorism” and the movement's internal debates regarding acceptable protest tactics.
Being hit or being given away are subabusive, common behaviors that harm companion animals. Violent childhood socialization increases the risk of adult abuse of animal companions, but relatively little is known about the origins of societally tolerated maltreatment of pets by adults. University students completed surveys about general attitudes toward animals, family socializaton, and current relationships with pets. These students generally had positive childhood socialization about pets and reported high levels of current attachment. Adults whose parents had given children's companion animals away had a heightened likelihood of giving their own pets away. Mothers' kindness to their children's pets was associated with adults' attachment to animal companions, but attachment was not related to the likelihood of hitting current pets. People who score high on a measure of pet abuse potential hit their pets. The pattern of findings related to gender implies that males are at somewhat greater risk for having negative socialization experiences involving pets, for greater pet abuse potential as adults, and for weaker attachments. However, females were equally likely to hit their pets or give them away. The childhood predictors of attitudes about animals, pet abuse potential, hitting pets, giving away pets, and attachment found in this nonclinical, noncriminal sample contribute to our understanding of developmental influences upon relationships with companion animals.
Four hundred and twenty-two adults completed a postal questionnaire in which they provided information regarding pet ownership and their attitudes toward 13 issues involving the use of animals. Over 63% of the sample owned a household pet, with the dog being the most common. Household pets were more commonly owned by respondents who were married, younger than 65 years of age, living in detached houses, or with a child/children present in the home. Most concern was expressed toward those types of animal uses which lead to death or injury, especially dog fighting. Females expressed more disagreement than males with most of the uses o f animals examined. Dog owners expressed more approval offox-hunting and hare-coursing than non-dog owners, and horse owners expressed more approval offox-hunting than non-horse owners. This study reveals that some of the ways in which people use animals are considered more acceptable than others, and suggests that it is incorrect to group different kinds of animal use into one broad category. The authors argue that future years may see a shift in the way society uses animals, from manipulation toward care for their well-being.
Although at first glance it may seem an unlikely alliance, frogs and cyberfrogs certainly benefit from an unusual friendship that connects the virtual world of dissection simulation and the physical realm of nonhuman animal advocacy.This paper focuses on the symbiotic relationship of dissection simulation designers and animal advocates. Dissection simulation manufacturers benefit from this relationship through the purchasing and promotion of their products by animal advocacy organizations, and also they benefit from policy changes that encourage the use of dissection simulations as alternatives to dissection. Reciprocally,animal advocacy organizations benefit by saving animal lives, gaining a new tool for convincing teachers to stop dissecting, and demonstrating that they are a pro-technology movement. The knowledges and values embedded in cyberfrogs make them both boundary objects and cyborgs.
In order to understand the animal rights movement as it exists today in American society, it is necessary to explore the ways in which the beliefs of those who support the movement differ from the beliefs of their adversaries. Societal views generally determine the perceived differences and similarities between people and animals, and the issues surrounding these differences are fundamental to the animal rights controversy.
The canine photographs, videos, and photographic narratives of artist William Wegman frame questions of animal aesthetic agency. Over the past 30 years, Wegman's dog images shift in form and content in ways that reflect the artist's increasing anxiety over his control of the art-making process once he becomes identified, in his own words, as "the dog photographer". Wegman's dog images claim unique cultural prominence, appearing regularly in fine art museums as well as on broadcast television. But, as Wegman comes to use these images to document his own transition from dog photographer to dog breeder, these texts also reflect increasing restrictions on what I term the "pack aesthetics," or collaborative production of art and artistic agency, that distinguish some of the early pieces. Accounting for the correlations between multiple and mongrel dogs in Wegman's experimental video work and exclusively Weimaraner-breed dogs with human bodies in his recent work in large-format Polaroid photography, this article explores how Wegman's work with his "video dog star," his first Weimaraner dog Man Ray, troubles the erasure of the animal in contemporary conceptions of artistic authority.
Stemming from a study of social aesthetics, in which public reaction to human physical appearance is addressed, the present analysis considers the practice of humans associating themselves with nonhuman animals on the basis of the latter's appearance. The study found these nonhuman animals are intended to serve as a positive reflection on the humans who deliberately choose them for their “special” traits, which the humans then utilize to enhance their own social standing. The study compares this to the same practice used by humans to associate themselves with attractive humans and serves the similar purpose of amassing social status by virtue of the association. This paper explains the phenomenon in theoretical terms; namely, symbolic interactionism, paying special attention to impression-management and dramaturgy, along with other interactionist features of attribution and social exchange. Where available, the paper uses scholarly, empirical work on the topic, supplemented by popular media observations and news articles. Viewed from an interactionist perspective, these empirical and non-empirical examples provide a novel picture of human-and-animal society as a unidirectional, status-seeking interaction intended to benefit human actors.
Top-cited authors
Pavol Prokop
  • Comenius University Bratislava
Muhammet Usak
  • Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University
Sara Staats
  • The Ohio State University
Adam John Privitera
  • Nanyang Technological University
Kathleen Gerbasi
  • Niagara County Community College