Article

Children'S Attitudes About the Humane Treatment of Animals and Empathy: One-Year Follow up of a School-Based Intervention

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

This study assessed the maintenance of the effect of a year-long school-based humane education program on fourth grade children's attitudes toward animals. Generalization to human-directed empathy was also measured. Using a pretest-posttest (Year 1) follow-up (Year 2) design and ANCOVA, we found that the experimental group (children who experienced the program) humane attitudes mean was greater than the control group mean at initial posttesting and at the Year 2 follow up. At both Year 1 and Year 2 posttesting, the enhancement of attitudes toward animals generalized to human-directed empathy, especially when the quality of the children's relations with their pets was considered as a covariate. The results contribute to the growing literature on the significance of the relations between children and animals, and serve to encourage humane education efforts.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Τα παιδιά που έχουν ζώα συντροφιάς τείνουν να έχουν υψηλότερο δείκτη ενσυναίσθησης από τα παιδιά που δεν έχουν κάποιο ζώο. Αναλυτικότερα, σε μελέτη των Ascione & Weber (1996) διαπιστώθηκε ότι οι ανθρωπιστικές στάσεις παρέμεναν κατά τη διάρκεια μια μετά-δοκιμής που πραγματοποιήθηκε στο δεύτερο έτος παρακολούθησης, αλλά δεν αφορούσε συγκεκριμένα την ενσυναίσθηση. Η έρευνα έδειξε ότι τα παιδιά που έχουν θετική στάση απέναντι στα ζώα συντροφιάς είναι πιο ενσυναίσθητα από εκείνα που έχουν αρνητική ή λιγότερο θετική στάση. ...
... Ανατρέχοντας στο θεωρητικό πλαίσιο αυτής της έρευνας μπορεί κανείς να δει ότι και σε άλλες έρευνες είχαν βρεθεί συναφή αποτελέσματα. Αρχικά, ο Bailey (1987) αναφέρει ότι τα παιδιά που ήρθαν σε επαφή με ένα κουτάβι και μάθαιναν πράγματα για αυτό ανέπτυξαν μεγαλύτερα νούμερα ενσυναίσθησης σε σύγκριση με τα παιδιά που απλά μάθαιναν πράγματα για τους σκύλους ή με την ομάδα ελέγχου όπως και οι Ascione & Weber (1996). ...
Article
Full-text available
Νowadays, the important effect that animals have on the emotional, social and cognitive development of children is accepted. Our study is part of a program implemented in preschool children during the school year 2019-2020 with the main goal of raising the awareness of children, parents and teachers toward pets. Our research concerns the attitudes and perceptions of preschool children, parents and teachers about pet. In our article, through the relevant bibliographic review, reference is made to the benefits that humans have from their interaction with the pet and it is presented the relationship between pets and children. The research part analyzes the attitudes and perceptions that children have towards animals and in more detail, we study the influence that pets have on preschool children.
... También hemos de mencionar la existencia de otros trabajos de corte experimental realizados con la intención de evaluar el impacto de un programa de un año de duración basado en el contacto con animales domésticos (con grupo experimental y grupo de control), en los que se concluyó que el contacto con animales mejora las actitudes hacia ellos y mejora de los niveles de empatía [38] [39]. ...
... Incluso, en algunos trabajos se han establecido modelos de regresión que nos permiten adivinar que las actitudes hacia los animales están mediadas por algunos factores entre los que se encuentra la empatía [32] [31] [33]. No obstante, hay escasos trabajos en los que se establecen esta relación en sentido inverso, esto es, considerando que las actitudes hacia los animales sea una variable predictora de la empatía humana [38] [39]. Por lo tanto, hasta la fecha, tenemos pocos elementos de juicio para determinar si tener altos niveles empáticos supone una actitud más favorable hacia los animales o si tener una actitud positiva hacia las mascotas nos hace poseer mayores niveles de empatía. ...
Article
INTRODUCCIÓN. En varios estudios se ha desvelado que las relaciones entre humanos y animales pueden jugar un papel importante en el desarrollo socioemocional de los niños OBJETIVO. El presente estudio pretende identificar la relación existente entre la variable dependiente empatía y las variables independientes actitudes hacia las mascotas, trato hacia las mascotas y tener o no tener mascota, en un grupo de preadolescentes. MÉTODO. Se presenta un estudio de tipo ex post facto. Se han aplicado tres cuestionarios: El Interpersonal Reactivity Index en su versión castellanizada, El Pet Attitude Scale - Modified y El Children´s Treatment of Animals Questionnaire. RESULTADOS. Hemos constatado que existen relaciones de covariación entre algunas de las variables estudiadas lo que nos ha permitido proponer una serie de cuatro modelos causales y decidir cuál de ellos obtiene los mejores indicadores de bondad de ajuste. DISCUSIÓN Y CONCLUSIONES. El contacto con animales en el hogar ejerce influencia sobre el desarrollo de la empatía en los niños.
... Studies conducted with children aged under 7 suggest very limited evidence that a change in behaviour is likely to manifest in children this age as a result of gaining knowledge [39]. However more promisingly with interventions delivered to children aged over 7, there is evidence that learners can both sustain the change in attitudes at least a year after the intervention [40], and can demonstrate a change in actual behaviour around dogs [10]. Younger children may be more receptive of educational interventions in general, potentially due to the fact that they simply have more to learn [41]. ...
... While there is some evidence an improvement in animal welfare conducive attitudes can be sustained at least for a year [40], the heterogeneity of this field and associated differing outcomes warrants an 'action research' approach whereby each programme conducts their own longitudinal assessments allowing for maximum external validity of evaluative findings [44]. Should the change in attitudes associated with workshop attendance fade out quickly, a resulting change in behaviour is unlikely. ...
Article
Full-text available
One of the core objectives of many animal-welfare organisations is to achieve improvements in animal welfare through school education programmes. However, whilst many charities and organisations develop and deliver these educational activities, impact relating to specific animal welfare attitudes and behaviours remains largely undescribed. This study evaluated the effects of an hour-long dog welfare workshop delivered to children aged 7-11, evaluating 2732 learners in state primary schools across the UK. Two types of workshop were evaluated; "Be Dog Smart" (BDS) and "Responsible Dog Ownership" (RDO). This study assessed short-term impact on attitude outcomes, as a first step in developing a full education monitoring and evaluation framework. Learners within each class were randomly assigned to two groups; one completing an attitude-based questionnaire before (control) and the other after the workshop (treatment). Dog ownership status, age, gender, and social deprivation (measured as access to free school meals) were collected for all participants. Questionnaire scores were compared between treatment and control groups. Mean scores were significantly different (BDS p
... Maternal Reports of Children's Exposure to Animal Maltreatment The Pet Treatment Survey (Ascione 2011) is a revised version of the Battered Partner Shelter Survey-Pet Maltreatment Assessment (BPSS; Ascione and Weber 1996). ...
... In a previous study [10], we found that a one-hour educational workshop in school classes, focusing on farm animal welfare, significantly increased children's knowledge about farm animal welfare needs and increased children's beliefs about animal minds, which are related to compassion towards animals and acceptance of animal cruelty [14]. In-classroom animal welfare education (not focusing on farm animals specifically) has been shown to be effective for improving children's knowledge about animals, attitudes, and empathy towards animals [15][16][17]. However, the number of studies remains insufficient to make necessary assertions about the effectiveness of classroom-based education programs for improving children's knowledge about and attitudes towards farm animals. ...
Article
Full-text available
Many children growing up in urban areas of Western countries have limited contact with and knowledge of farm animals and food production systems. Education can play an important role in children’s understanding of farm animal welfare issues, however, most education provided focuses on pets. There is a need to develop new farm animal welfare interventions for young children. This study examines the process of designing, developing, and evaluating the effectiveness of a new theoretically-driven digital game to teach children, aged 6–13 years, about farm animal welfare. ‘Farm Animal Welfare’ aimed to promote children’s knowledge about animal welfare, promote beliefs about animal sentience, and promote positive attitudes and compassion. A quasi-experimental design was carried out, using self-report questionnaires that children (n = 133, test = 69, control = 64) completed in the classroom. Test and control groups were from different schools and the control group did not engage in the intervention. Findings indicate a positive impact on beliefs about animal minds, knowledge about animal welfare needs, and knowledge about welfare in different farming systems, but there was no change in compassion or attitudes about cruelty. This study presents the first evaluation of a digital animal welfare education intervention for children, demonstrating the benefits of incorporating ‘serious games’ into farm animal welfare education. The findings will inform future practice around farm animal welfare education interventions for primary school children.
... Since the absence of positive social relationships (including companion animals) represents a significant risk factor for negative health outcomes (Hennessy, Kaiser & Sachser, 2009), these programs can be particularly transformative when designed for school-age children. Those who develop healthy relationships with their pets tend to be more socially competent and empathetic (Poresky, 1990); have more self-esteem (Brown, Shilling, Young & Berrong, 2015); show greater empathy towards other humans (Ascione & Weber, 1996); and exhibit more resilience as a result of social support and buffering in times of stress or trauma (Strand, 2004;Yorke, 2010). ...
Thesis
Over the course of millennia, First Nations and Inuit communities came to rely on dogs for their very survival and, to that end, every dog was esteemed to have value and purpose within the community. Some were used for hunting, some for transportation of goods and still others were important for the security of the community. More recently, with the advent of modern hunting methods, motorized transportation and the abandonment of a nomadic life, the dogs’ utility decreased and after years of uncontrolled reproduction, there has been a dramatic uptick in the number of freeranging dogs, both owned and unowned. Consequently, many of these remote communities are now dealing with significant dog-related public health concerns including public safety, bites, pack aggression and zoonotic diseases. In a shared history, the dogs in Canadian First Nations communities are mutually entangled with their human counterparts against the backdrop of loss of identity and cultural erosion. The resulting historical trauma extends beyond the species line, recapitulated in the continuing hardships faced by dogs in many Indigenous communities across Canada. In our study, we used a decolonizing methodology to critically explore relationships between dogs and humans in several First Nations communities where free-roaming dogs pose unique challenges and opportunities. Using a survey and semi-structured interviews, we were able to allow the voices of community-members to speak to the special role dogs play, the emotions they feel toward them and the most pressing issues relating to both dog and human welfare.
... Maternal Reports of Children's Exposure to Animal Maltreatment The Pet Treatment Survey (Ascione 2011) is a revised version of the Battered Partner Shelter Survey-Pet Maltreatment Assessment (BPSS; Ascione and Weber 1996). The PTS is composed of closed and open-ended questions designed to assess animal care (e.g., veterinary care) and treatment (animal maltreatment) among individuals receiving residential and non-residential domestic violence services. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study uses a mixed-methods approach to examine how patterns of exposure to animal maltreatment (AM) are related to socioemotional adjustment among children (N = 291) recruited from intimate partner violence (IPV) services. First, latent profile analysis (LPA) was used to identify subgroups of children with similar patterns of socioemotional functioning. Next, qualitative data from mothers and children were analyzed to identify thematic patterns in AM exposure among two subgroups of children identified through the LPA: Asymptomatic children and children with Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties (EBD). Seven themes were identified. Overall, EBD children, when compared to Asymptomatic children, were more likely to: a) have been exposed to severe forms of violence against animals, b) have experienced direct victimization by an IPV perpetrator following an effort to protect a pet, and c) express justification and normalization of violence against pets. Implications of our findings for research and clinical practice are discussed.
... In research studying the reliability of a measure of empathy among small children, Poresky (1990) found that empathy toward other children is related to empathy toward pets. In other research, Ascione and Weber (1996) found that children can be taught to have enhanced attitudes toward animals and that quality involvement with animals is positively related to humane attitudes toward animals. Furthermore, they found that there is a generalization from these attitudes to humandirected empathy. ...
Article
Full-text available
Children suffering from insecure attachment due to severe abuse and/or neglect are often characterized by internal working models which, although perhaps adaptive within the original family situation, are inappropriate and maladaptive in other relationships and situations. Such children have a higher probability than the general population of becoming abusing or neglecting parents. Besides the usual goals of psychotherapy, an overall goal is to stop the cycle of abuse in which abused children may grow up to be abusing parents. Therapy with these children is complicated by their distrust in adults as well as difficulties in symbolization due to trauma during the preverbal stage. Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) provides avenues for circumventing these difficulties, as well as providing additional tools for reaching the inner world of the client. This article gives a brief background of the connection between insecure attachment and intergenerational transmission of abuse and neglect as well as a brief overview of the principles of AAT in a play therapy setting. A rationale for the use of AAT as a unique therapy technique for children having suffered from abuse and neglect is followed by a number of clinical examples illustrating AAT.
... Humane education or other activities that facilitate empathy and compassion could therefore potentially promote positive attachment to pets. Promoting compassion and empathy towards animals has important implications for prosocial behaviour towards other children, as animal-directed empathy can generalise to human-directed empathy [79,80]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Attachment to pets has an important role in children’s social, emotional, and cognitive development, mental health, well-being, and quality of life. This study examined associations between childhood attachment to pets and caring and friendship behaviour, compassion, and attitudes towards animals. This study also examined socio-demographic differences, particularly pet ownership and pet type. A self-report survey of over one thousand 7 to 12 year-olds in Scotland, UK, revealed that the majority of children are strongly attached to their pets, but attachment scores differ depending on pet type and child gender. Analysis revealed that attachment to pets is facilitated by compassion and caring and pet-directed friendship behaviours and that attachment to pets significantly predicts positive attitudes towards animals. The findings have implications for the promotion of prosocial and humane behaviour. Encouraging children to participate in pet care behaviour may promote attachment between children and their pet, which in turn may have a range of positive outcomes for both children (such as reduced aggression, better well-being, and quality of life) and pets (such as humane treatment). This study enhances our understanding of childhood pet attachment and has implications for humane education and promoting secure emotional attachments in childhood.
... There is limited but growing evidence that classroom interventions can promote empathy and positive attitudes and behavior toward nonhuman animals (Muldoon et al., 2009). Previous studies investigating the effectiveness of educational interventions have shown a positive increase in comfort with pets and understanding of pet care (Zasloff, Hart, & Weiss, 2003), closer bonds and friendships with pets (Tardif- Williams & Bosacki, 2015), a greater consideration of welfare needs (Jamieson et al., 2012), increased knowledge of animals (O'Hare & Montminy-Danna, 2001) and responsible pet ownership (Coleman et al., 2008;Mariti et al., 2011), increased empathy and treatment of animals (Angantyr, Hansen, Eklund, & Malm, 2016;Arbour, Signal, & Taylor, 2009), more positive attitudes toward animals (Fonseca et al., 2011;Nicoll et al., 2008;O'Hare & Montminy-Danna, 2001), humane attitudes and human-directed empathy (Ascione & Weber, 1996), and enhanced perception of animals (Mariti et al., 2011) and animal sentience (highlighting the benefits of an inclass approach for positive change; Fonseca et al., 2011). ...
Article
Nonhuman animal welfare education aims to promote positive relationships between children and animals and thus improve animal welfare, yet few scientific evaluations of these programs exist. This study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of an education program developed by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) that included 4 interventions focusing on pets (companion animals), wild animals, farm animals, and general animal rescues. Knowledge, attachment to pets, and attitudes and beliefs about animal minds were assessed at pretest, posttest, and delayed posttest using a questionnaire administered to 1,217 Scottish children aged 7 to 13 years old. Results showed a significant positive impact of the program on knowledge about animals and the Scottish SPCA for all interventions. The pet and farming interventions significantly impacted children's beliefs about animal minds. There were trends toward improvements in a range of other measures. This study highlights the importance of teaching animal welfare education to children for early prevention of animal cruelty, discusses the need to base this education on theory and research to find effective change, and demonstrates how evidence-based practice can inform future education programs.
... Aguirre and Orihuela's (2010) animal-welfare course delivered to grade 1 pupils over a 10-week period revealed that child participants retained most concepts pertaining to animal welfare during the span of their studies. Similarly, based on findings in a follow-up to an earlier study, Ascione and Weber (1996) determined that the attitudinal change that manifests in elementary school children after even a brief humane education program persists for at least a year. Nicoll, Trifone, and Samuels (2008) in turn concluded that children have the potential to retain valuable information about and develop positive attitudes towards animals due to such humane educational programming. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examined reasons why information pertaining to nonhuman animal welfare and liberation should be introduced during childhood. Studies indicate that animal-welfare activists’ and abolitionists’ efforts to date may be insufficient given the pervasive environmental destruction and ongoing animal suffering. Moreover, research reveals that education related to animal welfare and liberation is systematically excluded from children’s education, and they thus remain unaware of the sources and associated health hazards of meat they consume. Conversely, children’s knowledge about animal welfare increases when exposed to literature on the topic, which enables them to make informed choices regarding meat consumption. This paper draws on animal-welfare and liberation literature to argue that augmenting children’s knowledge about animal welfare and liberation can foster children’s understanding, language, philosophy, and ability to make informed choices about their relationship with animals and the environment in general.
... Over the past two decades, some studies have suggested that humane attitudes toward animals are positively correlated with empathy to humans (Daly & Morton, 2009;Preylo & Arikawa, 2008;Signal & Taylor, 2007;Taylor & Signal, 2005). Recent studies have also evidenced that HE programs are positive interventions in promoting students' humane attitudes toward the treatment of animals (Ascione, Latham, & Worthen, 1985;Cameron, 1983;Nicoll, Samuels, & Trifone, 2008) and human-directed empathy (Arbour, Signal, & Taylor, 2009;Ascione, 1992;Ascione & Weber, 1996;Fitzgerald, 1981;Paul, 2000). ...
Article
Full-text available
This is the first study to investigate humane attitudes toward animals and empathic tendencies toward humans among Chinese adolescents and young adults. The present study administered two scales, the Animal Attitude Scale (AAS) and Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), to 471 Hong Kong secondary school and university students who were between the ages of 14 and 25. The findings of the present study suggest that Chinese secondary school and university students tend to consider the instrumental value of animals used for the benefit of humans. Animal use for luxury purposes was most unacceptable, while animal use for survival purposes was most acceptable to these students. The many undecided responses on animal welfare issues might reflect students’ lack of knowledge regarding the availability of non-animal alternatives in our lives. The results also show that there is a strong link between humane attitudes and human empathy in the young people in Hong Kong. Gender and education level were found to be significant factors of a humane attitude as well as human-directed empathy. The current study implies that a humane education (HE) program could be particularly beneficial to the empathy development of male adolescents.
... Young cancer patients participating in AAT have also shown an overall improvement in quality of life (Urbanski & Lazenby, 2012). Studies have found that interaction with AAT programs can even have long-term developmental benefits for aspects of social cognition, such as empathy (Ascione & Weber, 1996). This burgeoning track record, combined with their relatively low cost, has made AAT programs an attractive prospect for universities looking to combat student stress. ...
Article
Post-secondary students are experiencing more stress than ever before. In an attempt to help alleviate some of this stress, animal-assisted therapy (AAT) events were held on the campus of a small liberal arts institution just prior to final exams in the Fall and Winter terms. All students were invited to mingle with dogs and handlers from a local AAT advocacy group. In Study 1, students were surveyed following the events held in the Fall and Winter and self-reported an improved mood as a result of the events as well as being extremely satisfied with the experience. Similarly, Study 2, held in the subsequent Fall, replicated the findings from Study 1. In addition, the Brief Mood Inspection Scale, administered before and after the event, found students' mood improved on all three subscales. The implications for future research to fully assess the impact of such events on students are discussed.
... Failure to provide proper food, water, shelter, medical care, and sterilization is likely related to lack of knowledge about appropriate animal care and potentially to a lack of resources. Education programs that begin in the schools and involve parents have been found to increase general knowledge about the needs of animals, at least in the short term (Ascione & Weber, 2015), although they may not affect actual interactions with animals (Arbour, Signal, & Taylor, 2009;Nicoll, Trifone, & Samuels, 2008). There are a variety of nonprofit organizations in Detroit, ranging from veterinary professionals and clinics to animal welfare groups, that provide low cost food, medications, and spay/neutering to the city's animals (Reese & Ye, 2016). ...
Article
Therapy and visitation dogs are becoming more common on college campuses to provide comfort and support to students, but little attention has been given to the concerns of faculty and staff who share space with the dogs in their workplaces. The purpose of this study was to assess the perceptions of faculty and staff with regard to both the benefits and the hazards (e.g., dander, bites, fleas) and risks associated with the presence of visitation dogs in their workplaces. One hundred and thirty-eight employees who worked in buildings with resident visitation dogs completed an online survey about their perceptions of the hazards and risks of the dogs and the effects of dogs on the wellbeing of both students and employees. In general, employees perceived that the dogs presented minimal risks, and most employees believed that they can reduce stress and provide comfort to students on campus. There were a few employees, however, who reported that the dogs did not improve the work environment and conferred no benefits to the staff or students. The findings of the present survey support the mostly positive attitudes that people have for dogs in the workplace, but they also highlight a potential challenge: accommodating individuals who believe very strongly that dogs do not belong in work environments.
... Specifically, participants' qualitative responses to the 28-item Pet Treatment Survey (PTS; Ascione, 2011) were used in the current study. The PTS is a measure that was designed purposefully for our study and expands upon the Battered Partner Shelter Survey-Pet Maltreatment Assessment (BPSS; Ascione & Weber, 1996). Specifically, the PTS was designed to assess experiences of maltreatment and care of companion animals in the context of IPV-affected households as reported by women accessing residential or non-residential DV services. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study explores the intersection of intimate partner violence (IPV) and animal cruelty in an ethnically diverse sample of 103 pet-owning IPV survivors recruited from community-based domestic violence programs. Template analysis revealed five themes: (a) Animal Maltreatment by Partner as a Tactic of Coercive Power and Control, (b) Animal Maltreatment by Partner as Discipline or Punishment of Pet, (c) Animal Maltreatment by Children, (d) Emotional and Psychological Impact of Animal Maltreatment Exposure, and (e) Pets as an Obstacle to Effective Safety Planning. Results demonstrate the potential impact of animal maltreatment exposure on women and child IPV survivors' health and safety.
... Vegetarianism and involvement with animal welfare and environmental organizations were also associated with having pets in childhood. Ascione and Weber (1996;Ascione, 1992) also found that children"s involvement with pets was positively related to their humane attitude toward animals, and that the enhancement of humane attitudes was generalized to human-directed empathy. Preadolescent pet owners have been shown to have higher levels of autonomy, more positive self-concept, and higher self-esteem relative to their non-pet-owning counterparts (van Houte & Jarvis, 1995). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Though there is an expanding focus on the beneficial role of pets in the fields of nursing and veterinary medicine, the social sciences have been behind in paying attention to the significant role that pets play in human lives. Much has been made of findings that pet dogs may have a significant impact on physiological measures of health. However, dogs have also been associated with psychological measures of well-being, both through animal-assisted therapy and in the general population of dog owners. Whether the mechanism is touch, exercise, attachment, nonevaluative social support, or some combination of these, the human connection to the non-human animal world merits further investigation. Previous results have been mixed, and studies suffer from a lack of large sample sizes or sufficient control conditions, among other weaknesses. The current study attempts to address some of the gaps in the literature by assessing the impact of the presence of pet dogs on their owners" responses to a negative mood induction procedure. Controlling for dog ownership as well as for the presence of the dog, and collecting demographic information from each participant in addition to measures of self-esteem, depression, social support, attitudes towards pets, and attachment to pets, this study found that among single female dog owners, positive attitudes towards animals were associated with positive mood prior to the mood induction. In addition, dog owners accompanied by their dogs experienced significantly lower despondency scores compared to non-owners prior to the mood induction. However, the presence of a pet dog was associated with increases in anxiety and apprehension subsequent to the mood induction, suggesting the importance of considering contextual factors when evaluating the emotional benefits of dog ownership.
... It has been suggested that the important role of dogs in Hinduism may be an impediment for successful program adoption (30), but in Sikkim, it has facilitated program adoption. An increase in empathy and improved attitudes to animals has been shown to increase empathy to humans and facilitate prosocial behavior (31)(32)(33)(34)(35)(36), which may in turn motivate health behaviors including participation in vaccination campaigns (28). A critical feature in the SARAH program is the recognition of the significance of human-animal relations and culturally appropriate framing of community education messages. ...
Article
Full-text available
A third of the world rabies burden is in India. The Sikkim Anti-Rabies and Animal Health (SARAH) program is the first state-wide rabies program in India and demonstrates a successful One Health model of dog-mediated rabies elimination. The SARAH program was created in 2006 as a collaboration between the Government of Sikkim and international non-government organizations—Vets Beyond Borders and Fondation Brigitte Bardot. Activities are directed to canine rabies vaccination, humane dog population control, community education, and treatment of sick and injured animals. In 2005, there were 0.74 human rabies deaths per 100,000 (4 deaths) within Sikkim, and from 2006 to 2015, there were no human rabies deaths. In 2016, two human rabies deaths were reported near the West Bengal border region. From 2005 to 2010, the incidence of animal rabies is unknown; from 2010 to 2016, eight cases of animal rabies were reported. Major challenges for the program are continued commitment to rabies control in the face of 0 to low human rabies incidence and the risk of rabies incursions. Effective intersectoral communication between Health, Veterinary, Forestry, and Police officers is essential to enable rapid response to animal bite incidents and possible rabies incursions. An integrated One Health approach needs to be maintained with enhanced active rabies surveillance. Other states must establish similar programs if India is ever to achieve a goal of eliminating dog-mediated human rabies.
... The second of these categories, AAE, refers to any number of practices where animals serve to facilitate learning, be it academic education or self-knowledge. For instance, this may take the form of reading assistance dogs that help students with learning disabilities practice their oral literacy skills (Intermountain Therapy Animals, 2008); humane education programs that teach children about animals and their care needs, which fosters the development of empathy (Ascione, 1992;Ascione & Weber, 1996; Thompson & Gullone, 2003); dog-bite prevention programs that teach children about animal communication and proper behaviour around dogs; prison-based programs where incarcerated offenders are paired with dogs or horses in order to help train or rehabilitate the animals; as well as equine-facilitated experiential learning programs that facilitate self-learning and self-awareness through interaction with horses (Rector, 2005). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) and equine-assisted therapy/learning (EAT/L) are innovative techniques in counselling, psychotherapy, mental health, coaching, and other personal growth interventions. Although this field has experienced tremendous growth in the United States, very little is known about its Canadian equivalent. The purpose of this study was therefore to examine the current state of AAT and EAT/L in Canada, by conducting a national, bilingual (English and French) survey of helping professionals who involve animals in their practices. A total of 131 questionnaires were retained for analysis. The results of this study suggest that the field is very diverse, with a multitude of confusing terms and expressions, varying levels of education and training, and disagreement on how different practices are defined, resulting in a fragmented, confusing and inconsistent appearance. Recommendations for the evolution of the field and suggestions for future research are provided.
... Shimizu, & Pifer, 1994), age (Ascione, 1992;Kavanagh, Signal, & Taylor, 2013;Kellert, 1985), household income (Signal & Taylor, 2006), humane education (Ascione & Weber, 1996;Furnham, McManus, & Scott, 2003;Nicoll, Trifone, & Samuels, 2008), pet ownership (Driscoll, 1992;Martens, Enders-Slegers, & Walker, 2016;Serpell, 1996), religion (Bowd & Bowd, 1989;Driscoll, 1992;Gilhus, 2006), as well as geographic region (Phillips et al., 2012;Pifer et al., 1994). However, research into the correlation between public attitudes toward animals and ethical ideologies is still in its infancy and needs further investigation (Bègue & Laine, 2017). ...
Article
Ethical ideologies, which include dimensions of idealism and relativism, are often involved in the process of decision-making regarding operational and economic research. However, the study of the role of ethical ideologies concerning public attitudes toward animals has been largely neglected. The present study analyzed how ethical ideologies and their interaction with human demographics relate to public attitudes toward animals in the Netherlands. The Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ) was used to assess respondents’ ethical ideologies and their relationship with attitudes toward animals, which were measured by the Animal Issue Scale (AIS) and the Animal Attitude Scale (AAS). The results demonstrated that respondents’ gender and age were both significantly associated with attitudes toward animals, although gender showed a stronger correlation than age. Absolutists and situationists tended to show greater concern for animals than did exceptionists and subjectivists. Public attitudes toward animals were found to be significantly related to idealism; this confirms previous findings in the United States and China. Consistent with some previous findings in the United States, no significant correlation between relativism and public attitudes toward animals was found among Dutch respondents. However, this finding is inconsistent with findings in China indicating that relativism was negatively related to people’s attitudes toward animals. Our study indicates that the correlation between idealism and attitudes toward animals is the same in different countries, while the correlation between relativism and attitudes toward animals differs between developed and developing countries.
... for example, in their research with adolescents, thompson and showed an association between prosocial behavior toward animals and toward humans. Ascione (1992) and Ascione and Weber (1996) reported that children who participated in a humane education program showed increases in human-directed and animal-directed empathy compared to a control group who did not. in a young adult sample of university students, Paul and serpell (1993) showed that those who reported more positive attitudes and behaviors toward their companion animals also reported higher levels of empathy toward humans. the importance of empathy becomes clearer at the extreme ends of the prosocialantisocial behavioral continuum where those at risk of behaving in antisocial and aggressive ways tend to have compromised empathy along with the presence of callous, unemotional traits and an inability to experience guilt (hastings et al., 2000). ...
Article
Full-text available
This article focuses on the animal cruelty, health, psychological and social consequences, as well as environmental consequences of an animal-based diet. Animals are intensively bred and raised in factory farms in the most inhumane ways. By far, the greatest numbers of animals reared and killed by humans every year is for human consumption. The numbers are estimated to be greater than 56 billion animals globally. The cruelty involved in the intensive farming of animals is the most widespread form of cruelty imposed by humans on other species. This has significant implications for who we are as a species. Moreover, the belief that humans need to consume animal products to maintain good health has been seriously questioned over the past few decades. It is also a lifestyle choice that is responsible for significant damage to the environment. In contrast, a strong evidence base exists to show that a plant-based diet is health promoting and sustainable. Thus, by cultivating a culture of compassion toward nonhuman animals, current and future generations will benefit through better physical and psychological health and through markedly reduced damage to the planet and all of its inhabitants.
... Even so, the intrinsic relationship between human-human and human-animal empathy has been described through educational programs assisted by animals or integrating concepts related to the human-animal bond, which have demonstrated a generalization effect from empathy toward animals to empathy toward other humans. 31,32 This is how having pets that depend on humans provides an opportunity to learn and practice the care for other humans. 33 Beetz et al. 34 reported that animals have the potential to promote social interactions, and they propose that the human-animal bond results in endocrine responses, with the release of oxytocin increasing empathy, positive mental state, and trust in other humans, and decreasing stress, depression, and aggression. ...
Article
Full-text available
Social relationships are based on our ability to put ourselves in the place of others, and from there to react appropriately and logically. This empathic ability can be extended to other species, based on the human ability to develop techniques to understand and communicate with animals. In education, the benefits of training professionals with ethical and empathic tools are known. Gender, diet, past experiences, and other factors can modify a person's levels of empathy toward humans and animals, and a relationship exists between both types of empathy. The aims of this study were to investigate some determinants of the level of empathy and to gain insight into the possible correlation between human-animal and human-human empathy. For this, the Animal Empathy Scale and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index by Davis were applied through an electronic survey system to freshmen and final-year students (n = 452) from five schools of veterinary medicine in Chile. The correlation between the empathy scores of both instruments and their association with individual factors were studied using Spearman's correlation, the Wilcoxon signed-rank test, and the Kruskal-Wallis test. The results suggest that both instruments correlate significantly, and that gender, year of study, diet, and area of interest have a significant association with the score for empathy toward animals. This research shows that individual characteristics and changes that occur during veterinary training can affect students' attitudes toward animals.
... It could be suggested that such a society facilitates increasing awareness of the importance of animal welfare or providing the mechanisms for it to be improved. There is, for example, increasing awareness of the importance of educating children about animals, to prepare them for their role as future consumers (22,23), and gender equality promotes the role of women who are shown to give higher importance to animal welfare than men (24). ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper systematically evaluates the extent to which achieving the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) is compatible with improving animal welfare. The analyses were based on discussion and independent scoring in a group of 12 participants with academic backgrounds within agricultural or veterinary sciences. We considered all categories of animals; those kept for food production, working and companion animals, but also laboratory and wild animals. The strengths of the links between improving animal welfare and achieving an SDG were scored on a 7-point scale, from being completely indivisible, at one end of the scale, to where it is impossible to reach both the SDG and improved animal welfare at the same time. There was good consensus between participants, with the overall scores being positive, indicating that although animal welfare is not explicitly mentioned in the SDGs, working to achieving the SDGs is compatible with working to improve animal welfare. When analyzing the direction of the links, the impact of achieving an SDG was considered, on average, to be slightly better at leading to improved animal welfare, than the impact of improving animal welfare was on achieving the SDG. The exception to this was for SDG 2, dealing with zero hunger. The two SDGs for which there was strongest mutual reinforcing were SDG 12, which deals with responsible production and consumption, and SDG 14, which deals with life below water. Most of the targets under these two SDGs were considered relevant to animal welfare, whereas when all SDGs were considered, 66 targets of the total of 169 were considered relevant. Although the results of this study suggest a mutually beneficial relationship between improving animal welfare and achieving SDGs, this should be confirmed on a wider group of people, for example people from less developed countries and other stakeholders. Showing the relationships between animal welfare and the sustainable development goals helps highlight the importance of animal welfare when implementing these goals in practice. The methodology described in this study could also be useful to researchers working with other societal and environmental issues not yet considered within the overall SDG framework.
... . Numerous studies examine attitudes toward companion animals, primarily in Western countries with largely Judeo-Christian influences (Ascione & Weber, 1996;Bjerke, Ødegårdstuen, & Kaltenborn, 1998;Bowd & Bowd, 1989;Lago, Delaney, Miller, & Grill, 1989;Hills, 1993), but few have examined attitudes in non-Western countries with other religious influences. In this study, we compare attitudes toward companion animals (pets) among university students in Palestine and Norway using a well-validated instrument, the Pet Attitude Scale. ...
... Deoarece intervențiile asistate de animale (IAA) au la bază interacțiunea cu un animal care nu judecă și oferă afecțiune necondiționată, incorporarea lor în practica de zi cu zi oferă terapeutului oportunități și contexte utile în procesul de terapie fizică și emoțională a beneficiarului. Rezultatele unui studiu în care s-a investigat calitatea interacțiunii copiilor cu animalele în cadrul unui program școlar cu durata de un an, au indicat a corelație între calitatea interacțiunii cu animalul de terapie și nivelul general de empatie pentru ființele umane al participanților (Ascione & Weber, 1996). Chandler (2005) a ilustrat creșteri la nivelul atenției beneficiarilor care interacționează cu animalele de terapie în raport cu diferitele sarcini administrate, având ca scop îmbunătățirea coordonării și autonomiei personale. ...
... Most religious texts present views supportive of nonhuman animal welfare, especially for domesticated animals (Szűcs, Geers, Jezierski, Sossidou, & Broom, 2012). Although numerous studies examine attitudes toward companion animals, primarily in western countries with largely Judeo-Christian influences (Ascione & Weber, 1996;Bjerke, Ødegårdstuen, & Kaltenborn, 1998;Bowd & Bowd, 1989;Hills, 1993;Lago, Delaney, Miller, & Grill, 1989), few have examined attitudes in non-western countries with other religious influences. Thus, the degree to which middle-eastern attitudes toward companion animals and religious observance converge is unclear. ...
Article
Prompted by the scarcity of studies on the attitudes of people towards pet (companion) animals in most Arab countries and inspired by their previous research on the attitudes towards animals in Palestine and Norway, the researchers conducted this study to measure the attitudes of university students in Oman with reference to religious observance. A total of 217 students at Sultan Qaboos University in Oman responded to the Pet Attitude Scale ( PAS ) combined with questions regarding religious observance. The findings revealed somewhat less positive attitudes toward companion animals among the Omani students than the Palestinian students. Despite the general high degree of religious observance among Omani students, the study showed no significant correlation between religiosity and attitudes towards animals among Omani students. Some difficulties connected with the use of self-report questionnaires and the possibilities to investigate attitudes versus actual behavior are also discussed.
... Animals-specifically, beliefs and attitudes towards them-have a central role within the field of human-animal relationships, animal welfare, ecological belief and sustainability. Most research about belief and attitude shows that attitudes toward animals are closely related to some determinants such as age [1][2][3], household income [4], education [5][6][7], pet ownership [8][9][10], geographic region [11,12] and religion [8,[13][14][15]. Regarding the latter, despite limited studies on the relationship between religious belief and public attitudes toward animals, there are growing investigations which confirm the relationship between ethical ideologies and public attitudes towards animals [16][17][18][19][20] as well as between ethical ideologies and religious orientation [21][22][23][24]. ...
Article
Full-text available
There is ample research supporting White’s (1967) thesis, which postulates that religion and religious belief inhibit ecological concerns. This study thus seeks to explore the relationship between individuals’ acceptability for harming animals as one representation of ecological concern (measured using Animal Issue scale (AIS)) and their religious belief (measured using Religious Orientation Scale (ROS)) and ethical ideology (measured using Ethical Position Questionnaire (EPQ)). The study surveyed 929 Muslim teachers and school staff in East Java, Indonesia. We found that ROS correlates with EPQ whereby intrinsic personal (IP) relates with idealism while extrinsic social religious orientation (ES)—where religion is perceived as an instrument for social gain, membership and support—relates with relativism. However, using multiple regression analysis to examine both EPQ and ROS relation to acceptability for harming animals suggests mixed results. We found that, idealism and IP relate to a lower acceptability for harming animals, while relativism and ES correlate to a higher acceptability for harming animals. In another model where we calculate all the main variables with all the demographical and other determinants, we found that only ROS consistently relates to acceptability for harming animals. Additionally, we identify, explain and discuss significant demographic determinants along with this study’s limitations.
... Esto reviste interés ya que, de acuerdo con la literatura científica existente, es probable que la convivencia con animales de compañía permita mayores niveles de empatía. En este sentido, diversos estudios han señalado la importancia del desarrollo de un vínculo afectivo con un animal para el incremento en el nivel de empatía hacia otras personas (Ascione, 1992;Ascione & Weber, 1996;Daly & Suggs, 2010;Poresky, 1990;Vidović et al., 1999). Se ha destacado que los niños con un vínculo emocional muy fuerte con sus mascotas, desarrollan puntuaciones significativamente más elevadas en empatía y conducta prosocial que sus pares con un vínculo más débil (Komorosky & O'Neal, 2015;Poresky, 1990;Vidović et al., 1999). ...
Article
Full-text available
El estudio de las conductas empáticas de los niños hacia los animales resulta de suma importancia, ya que podría contribuir al diseño de estrategias de intervención contra la violencia hacia los animales y, por extensión, hacia las personas. Sin embargo, esta temática ha sido poco estudiada. La presente investigación tuvo por objetivo explorar si los niños pequeños muestran conductas empáticas (conductas de ayuda) hacia los animales, específicamente hacia los perros domésticos. Para tal fin, se presentó a un grupo de niños de entre 18 a 38 meses de edad una situación en la que observaba a un perro que no podía acceder al alimento que se encontraba dentro de una caja. Se registraba el comportamiento del niño ante tal situación. Los resultados muestran que cuando observaron al animal ante un problema, los niños se comportaron de manera empática ayudándolo a lograr sus objetivos. Do children empathize with a dog? An empirical study of helping behaviors in young children. The study of the empathic behaviors of children towards animals is of utmost importance since it could contribute to the design of intervention strategies against violence towards animals and, by extension, towards people. However, this topic has been little studied. The objective of this study was to explore whether young children show empathetic behaviors (helping behaviors) towards animals, specifically towards domestic dogs. To this end, children were presented with a task in which they observed a dog facing a problem; the dog could not access the food that was inside a box. The behavior of the child in such situation was recorded. Twenty children between 18 and 38-months-of-age participated. The results showed that when children observed the animal facing a problem, they helped the animal to achieve its objectives, that is, children acted empathetically.
... Deoarece intervențiile asistate de animale (IAA) au la bază interacțiunea cu un animal care nu judecă și oferă afecțiune necondiționată, incorporarea lor în practica de zi cu zi oferă terapeutului oportunități și contexte utile în procesul de terapie fizică și emoțională a beneficiarului. Rezultatele unui studiu în care s-a investigat calitatea interacțiunii copiilor cu animalele în cadrul unui program școlar cu durata de un an, au indicat a corelație între calitatea interacțiunii cu animalul de terapie și nivelul general de empatie pentru ființele umane al participanților (Ascione & Weber, 1996). Chandler (2005) a ilustrat creșteri la nivelul atenției beneficiarilor care interacționează cu animalele de terapie în raport cu diferitele sarcini administrate, având ca scop îmbunătățirea coordonării și autonomiei personale. ...
Chapter
This chapter explores the alignment of science education for young children and the principles of humane education. This connection is illustrated through descriptions of inquiry-based projects focusing on various animals and classroom accounts of the early science curriculum. In addition, it reviews the literature on young learners’ enhanced dispositions toward science and development of empathy as they investigate the natural world through the study of animals and learn to become guardians of the earth.
Chapter
Full-text available
The beginning of the 2000s saw the extension of a policy of forced eradication of coca crops (for illicit use) in Colombia, based principally on fumigation and manual eradication; this policy generated a displacement of the crops to other zones, such as the Pacific region. The creation of collective territories in this region started in the 1990s and expanded in the 2000s,1 and put forward the hypothesis that such territories (considered by Ostrom2 to be one of the first steps in the establishment of robust, sustainable, self-governing bodies), could be a factor in the curbing of the expansion of coca crops in the region, an area which is of great cultural and environmental importance. In our investigation, we show that this is not the case, and demonstrate that in fact, the cultivation of illicit crops has led to fragmentation in the collective territories through the increase in violence and forced displacement of people, all of which may have impeded the establishment of these collective territories. With one case study, however, we show that under another type of anti-drug policy based on strengthening of the community and encouraging self-organisation, collective territories can indeed impede the expansion of coca cultivation.
Chapter
Children today spend the majority of their time indoors, watching television, playing video games, and using the computer. As screen time has increased, unstructured playtime in the outdoors has decreased. Louv (Childhood’s future, Doubleday, New York, 2005) coined the phrase “nature-deficit disorder” (NDD), referring to the alienation from nature in the lives of today’s wired generation. Not only does the loss of children’s outdoor play and contact with the natural world negatively impact the growth and development of the whole child and their acquisition of knowledge, it also sets the stage for a continuing loss of the natural environment. As educators seek to develop citizens with environmental ethics, in the early childhood years they must first develop children’s love of nature. Likewise, as educators aim to develop citizens who protect animals, teaching children to have affinity for animals, both wildlife and companion animals, is the foundation.
Chapter
Full-text available
The value of humane educational programs in the relationship with animals, humans, and violence, in general, has been demonstrated. However, a nationwide program has not been established, and most of the interventions around the world are based in programs developed by humane associations, whose success evaluations in general lack of a rigorous methodology. However, few studies with robust methodology support some of these programs. Among these papers, authors concluded that (1) effective short-term courses can vary in length from 30 min to 40 h distributed during one semester; (2) children exposed to these programs generalize animal empathy with human-directed empathy; (3) children between 6 and 13 years of age are able to learn about humane behavior toward animals and humans through role-play, printed materials, and lectures, which have a synergistic effect; (4) short-term humane education programs can be effective and sustainable over the long term; and (5) children’s stage of development affects humane learning. This chapter is a review of some of the successful, short-term interventions published in the scientific literature.
Chapter
Developmental research has clearly established the importance of animals for children. Young children are drawn to animal stories, animal toys, animal videos, and live animals. Animal-Assisted Play Therapy, which integrates Animal-Assisted Therapy with play therapy for children, capitalizes on this interest in order to help children with a wide range of social, emotional, and behavioral difficulties. As children develop mutually trusting and satisfying relationships with animal therapy partners through the use of playful interactions, they begin to recognize and respond to the emotions, desires, and choices of the animals with more understanding and empathy. This process is particularly valuable for young children as it is built not on verbal communication but on the natural language of play. Play has the potential to strengthen bonds and permit children to try new behaviors without repercussion, and the safety that is inherent in the Animal-Assisted Play Therapy process leads to more humane attitudes and ways of being with nonhuman and human animals alike (note that the term “animals” in this chapter refers to nonhuman animals). An explanation of the approach and its principles is followed by brief descriptions of its goals and methods. Case examples are included to illustrate; all identifying information in these examples has been changed to protect child and family privacy.
Article
This study investigates public attitudes in Chinese society towards marine life and determines the roles of basic demographics and ethical ideology in shaping these attitudes. An online survey was conducted in 22 mainland coastal cities on the basis of a questionnaire regarding demographical information, the Ethical Position Questionnaire ( EPQ ), and an adapted marine life version of the Animal Attitude Scale ( AAS ). Results demonstrate that Chinese women are more concerned about marine life protection than men. Ethical idealism has positive effects while ethical relativism has negative effects on public attitudes towards marine life. Chinese citizens consider using marine life for food as acceptable, but less acceptable to use their skin or fur. Moreover, ethical ideology is found to have no influence upon public attitudes towards using marine life in medical experiments.
Article
Empathy is often studied as it relates to humans. However, there is a increasing interest in its relationship, development and impact with non‐human animals. This interest is often driven by a curiosity in empathy's role as an internal motivator for pro‐environmental behavior change. As with many internal affective responses, the link is not always directly clear but growing evidence suggests that empathy towards others can influence the likelihood of pro‐environmental behaviors as they relate to individual animals and potentially their larger communities or species. A hot zone for empathy development; zoos, aquariums, museums, sanctuaries, shelters, nature centers, and other informal environmental education organizations invested in animal conservation are challenged to understand, mitigate or capitalize on the empathy development already occurring in their institutions. These organizations provide opportunities for people to develop close relationships with individual animals, a critical step in the development of empathy. Their ability to facilitate hundreds of up‐close interactions between humans and animals daily establishes these organizations as important venues for the exploration of empathy towards animals and its potential impact on promoting pro‐environmental behavior. In this paper, we review some of the existing literature on empathy in relation to and with non‐human animals, offer a definition as it applies to all species, and discuss key components of empathy development including barriers and promoters.
Article
A relação entre empatia dirigida a humanos (EDH) e empatia dirigida a outros animais (EDA) tem sido reportada como fraca, sendo pouco conhecidos os fatores que predizem a segunda. Neste estudo examinámos potenciais variáveis preditoras de cada uma das duas formas de empatia, e comparámos participantes lusófonos e anglo-saxónicos, inspeccionando possíveis especificidades culturais. Conduzimos um inquérito na web que incluiu versões portuguesa e inglesa duma escala de EDH, e duma escala de EDA, bem como questões relacionadas com animais de estimação, religião, dieta e participação em ONGs. A testagem de modelos de regressão múltipla mostrou que na EDH o género foi o único preditor, e apenas no grupo lusófono. O sexo feminino e a vivência com animais de estimação são preditores de EDA em ambos os grupos. Estar ligado a uma associação/ONG é um preditor na população lusófona, enquanto que na anglo-saxónica pesa mais a dieta vegetariana/vegana.
Article
Kinderen blijken beter te functioneren in de nabijheid van huisdieren. Dit geldt zeker voor kinderen in het speciaal onderwijs. Leerkrachten weten wat er in de klas gebeurt als zij hun hond meenemen: er ontstaat een ontspannen sfeer in de klas, waardoor kinderen beter gaan presteren. In de Verenigde Staten worden honden vaak ingezet om kinderen enthousiast te krijgen om te lezen: zij mogen voor de hond voorlezen, iets wat hen veel gemakkelijker afgaat dan voor de leerkracht of andere kinderen. Het leesniveau stijgt na een aantal weken substantieel.
Article
Reviews evidence for the significance of childhood cruelty to animals as a predictor of later violence toward humans. Moves are underway in the United States (US) and Britain to encourage communication and cross-fertilisation between animal welfare and child protection and crime prevention services. Literature on healthy versus deviant child-pet interactions is reviewed, with particular regard to the prediction of later violence. Assessment and definitional issues are addressed. The discussion culminates with a summary of substantive findings and the identification of several research designs that are needed to clarify the potential of early identification and remediation of child cruelty to animals as a mental health promotion and violence prevention strategy.
Article
Full-text available
The symbiotic nature of the animal-human relationship has been evident and constant throughout history, and research shows that it is not based on a simple relation of mutual benefit, but that these relationships can also include emotional and social components. People and animals have cooperated since ancient times. Animals were used as a means of transport, protection and communication, in hunting, in controlling rodent populations, for sports and entertainment, but also for socialisation. Today, animals are most commonly kept as companion animals. Companion animals are assigned great importance, especially in relation to children, because they help them learn about responsibility, empathy and respecting boundaries. While spending time with animals, children establish social interaction. Animals can be included in helping professions as part of animal-assisted interventions which include all the activities where the animal is used for helping or therapeutic purposes. This paper presents findings on the importance of companion animals among children, as well as on the possibilities of including animal-assisted interventions in working with children and youth.
Article
This is the second part of a two-part article presenting the theoretical and empirical case for nonhuman animal (hereafter, ‘animal’) spirituality. Part 1 discussed the relevance of evolutionary theory and species differences for understanding animals’ capacity to have spiritual experience, conceptual issues related to defining animal spirituality, and methodological considerations regarding analogical reasoning and animal-centered anthropomorphism as heuristic strategies in the study of animal spirituality. Issues related to the question of animal consciousness and the use of evolutionary panentheism as a philosophical/theological frame for theorizing about animal spirituality were discussed. Part 2 examines six biopsychosocial capabilities of animals that are building blocks of human spirituality—cognition, imagination, emotion, moral sense, personality, and value-life (Maslow’s phrase)—and proposes an ontic pluralism of animal spiritualities. Part 2 concludes with a discussion of the wide-ranging implications for human society of consciously accepting the possibility of animal spirituality and capacity to have spiritual experience.
Article
This research explores the relationship between the nature of animal cruelty perpetrated by owners versus cruelty against animals of domestic partners, family members, and neighbors. All animal cruelty incidents in the City of Detroit for which there is a police report between 2007 and 2015 were included in the analysis. Animal cruelty was categorized into eight types of abuse: dog fighting, shooting, neglect, poisoning, threat, stabbing, kicking/hitting with blunt force, and “other.” A list of motivations for the cruelty was also coded based on information contained in the police reports. Descriptive and association analyses along with odds ratios derived from logistic regression were used to illustrate the likelihood of method of cruelty, given a particular relationship type and motivation. Findings suggest that the types of cruelty perpetrated by owners of the animal are different from cruelty committed by a family member, neighbor, or intimate partner. Perpetrators who are intimate partners or family members of the owner of the animal are more likely to demonstrate more active cruelty such as kicking or blunt force injuries, while owners are more likely to evidence forms of neglect. General relationships between cruelty type, motivations, and interpersonal relationships are similar among all those accused of animal cruelty and those that have also been charged with other crimes. The findings suggest that connections between interpersonal relationships and the types of animal cruelty perpetrated are more complex than previously understood, and that actions taken to reduce animal cruelty must be multipronged and take into account the variation in types of interpersonal relationships and types of cruelty.
Article
A growing body of evidence demonstrates that attitudes toward nonhuman animals correlate with attitudes toward disadvantaged human groups. It has been suggested that the connection rests in the ideology of social dominance. Endorsement of social hierarchy and intergroup domination is thought to extend to both human intergroup and human– animal contexts. The present research tested this reasoning by examining the scope and basis of the relation between speciesism and human inter-group attitudes. It was hypothesized that speciesism would predict less positive attitudes toward low-status groups (e.g., disadvantaged ethnic minorities) and those who support social change (e.g., feminists) but that it would be uncorrelated with attitudes toward stigmatized groups that are unmarked by social status (e.g., atheists). Two studies (Study 1, n = 98; Study 2, n = 82) tested this prediction using survey measures of speciesism, social dominance orientation, and attitudes toward 31 human groups including those noted above. Participants were first- and second-year university students in a mid-sized university in Ontario, Canada. As hypothesized, in both studies speciesism predicted less positive attitudes primarily toward low-status groups and groups that support social change. Further, relations between speciesism and intergroup attitudes were explained by their shared connection with social dominance orientation. These data contribute to the growing body of evidence showing links between speciesism and prejudice by illustrating that their shared emphasis on support for social hierarchy gives rise to a specific pattern of intergroup attitudes—one that supports inequality.
Article
Full-text available
Veterinary practitioners are thought of as guardians of animal health and wellbeing, and are considered important in the development of policies on animals. Measuring veterinary students’ attitudes toward animals and animal use is needed when assessing the effectiveness of education programs focused on animal welfare and ethics. The present study examined Spanish veterinary students’ attitudes toward different types of animal use, their human-directed empathy, and the relationship between these and various personal variables. The sample comprised 200 students who completed an online questionnaire. Attitudes toward animal use varied significantly, depending on the type of use in question. There was also a relationship between attitudes toward animal use, one component of human-directed empathy, “Empathic Concern,” and a number of personal variables such as gender, career choice, and contact with animal welfare organizations. Concern about the use of animals for research and animal management was lower in students who were in the later years of their studies. Reasons for this and the role of veterinary education are discussed.
Article
Assessing the risk for animal cruelty is imperative, yet understudied and problematic due to the sensitivity of the topic. Early prevention is critical, yet very little research examines cruelty when it first appears in childhood. The aim of this study was to explore children’s attitudes towards types of animal cruelty, to investigate potential demographic differences, and to examine potential associations between acceptance of cruelty and cognitive and affective factors that place children ‘at-risk’ for cruelty perpetration. Questionnaire data was collected from 1127 children in schools. The results indicate that cruelty attitudes are predicted by some demographic variables such as urban living, being male, younger age and not having pets, but depend on the type of animal cruelty. Acceptance of cruelty predicted low compassion and low reported humane behaviour towards animals. Acceptance of cruelty was predicted by negative attitudes towards animals, lower beliefs in animal minds and low attachment to pets, signifying the importance of targeting such variables in future prevention programmes. This study is an original contribution to research into childhood animal cruelty in the general population, with implications for designing and implementing early prevention programmes that tackle problematic attitudes to cruelty.
Article
This study explored the relationship between cruelty to animals, aggression, and empathy in primary school children. The relationship between pet ownership, love for animals in the family, and engaging in cruelty to animals was also investigated. The sample consisted of 1,248 students (633 girls, 615 boys) between the ages of 8 and 11 years (M = 9.59, SD = 0.63) and 41 classroom teachers living in Istanbul, Turkey. Students completed the Turkish version of the Children and Animals Inventory (CAI-TR) and the Empathy Index for Children and Adolescents (ES), and their classroom teachers completed the Teacher Assessment of Social Behavior (TASB). Results indicated that cruelty to animals was significantly correlated with aggression (r = 0.41, p < 0.01) and empathy (r = –0.35, p < 0.01). Children whose parents did not like animals were more cruel to animals (p < 0.001), and those who did not own a pet also exhibited higher levels of animal cruelty (p < 0.05). Regression analysis showed that gender, owning a pet, love for animals in the family, aggression, and empathy accounted for 25% of the total variance (R² = 0.253) in cruelty to animals. Limitations and directions for further research are discussed.
Article
Animal interactions can provide numerous benefits for child development and education. In the United States, goats are increasingly used in urban farm to school (FTS) programs to enhance children's learning and outdoor experiences. This study examined parents’ attitudes toward the presence of goats in a middle school FTS program and in their residential community, and the perceived effects of goat experiences for their children. Parents’ observations and reflections afford insights into the beneficial impacts that animals have on children and may also serve as a means to gauge parents’ willingness to support animal care and thus enhance the sustainability of FTS programming. Using a retrospective pretest design, we surveyed 112 parents and guardians of students at an urban middle school in the Southeast USA, posing questions about their evolving attitudes toward goats and other animals at the school, their children's experiences with goats and other FTS program elements, and their views regarding the presence, benefits, and drawbacks of goats in the community more broadly. We found that parents generally had very positive attitudes toward goats (and other FTS elements) prior to their students’ attendance, and that these became more positive with time. Over 90% of respondents believed goats positively influenced their children’s interest or enthusiasm for school. Parents also reported broad acceptance of the presence of goats throughout their community. We conclude that goats can be valuable assets in FTS programs, and use insights afforded by parents’ perceptions to draw recommendations for building collaborative support to provide more opportunities for child–goat engagement at schools and in urban communities.
Article
Animal Welfare (AW) educational programs aim to promote positive attitudes of future generations toward animal production systems. This study investigated whether secondary and university students in the majors that are not related to AW teaching believe that this concept should be included also in their educational programs. The determinant factors affecting students’ attitudes toward such a decision were analyzed. This research has focused on eight European countries (Spain, the United Kingdom, Poland, Greece, Lithuania, Romania, Italy, and Sweden) targeting 3,881 respondents composed of 1,952 secondary and 1,929 university students. The results showed that female university students with a high level of subjective and objective knowledge on AW and who required more restrictive AW regulations, gave support to include the concept in their educational programs. However, Students who support medical experiments that use animals to improve human health were less likely to accept AW education. Furthermore, students in Italy compared to those in Sweden were prone to support AW educational programs. Results highlight the importance of teaching the AW concept as a comprehensive teaching tool at universities and schools’ programs as it may constitute a starting point for a more sustainable society toward improving animal living conditions, mainly in the Mediterranean countries in secondary schools.
Chapter
Across cultures, people show affinity to nature, but today’s children have little contact to develop a strong bond. Children’s ways of knowing differ from the abstract, logical ways of adults, focusing instead on sensory and emotional perceptions. Children need to develop a love for nature through unstructured access to natural areas before learning about endangered species. Many factors affect human attitudes toward organisms: media portrayal, physical and behavioral attributes, genetic closeness to humans, cultural and religious factors, and perceived danger. Learning about local fauna and flora can influence preferences from charismatic species to appreciating more modest local organisms. Familiar animals are generally valued with education affecting these attitudes. Humane education programs of several approaches (curriculum-blended, literature-focused, and animal project-based) abound, but their efficacy has not been well documented in the literature. A recent humane education program by the authors is discussed along with examples of animal poetry that the author developed for use with first and second grade students.
Article
Full-text available
Humane education includes instructional approaches to teaching children kindness toward animals. Although efforts to teach children to be caring probably began within the first human social groups, formalized programs aimed at fostering children's compassion and responsibility toward people and animals are a more recent phenomenon, emerging in the United States not much earlier than a century ago. This article describes what has been evaluated in humane education programs, why such programs are being scrutinized, how programs have been evaluated (with a listing of the shortcomings of some evaluations and suggestions for improvement), and where programs and their evaluations should be directed in the future. The focus is on preschool and elementary grade programs. After a discussion of historical perspectives, recent approaches to implementing and evaluating humane education are reviewed. Special attention is given to the issue of whether teaching children to be caring toward animals has effects that are generalizable to human-directed empathy. Suggestions are offered for future research on this relatively neglected topic in child psychology.
Article
Full-text available
We assessed the impact of a year-long, school-based humane education program on younger (first and second graders) and older (fourth and fifth graders) children's attitudes toward the treatment of animals. Generalization to human-directed empathy was also measured. Using a pretest-posttest design and ANCOVA, we found that the program enhanced the animal-related attitudes of children differentially, depending on grade level. For younger children, there was no significant difference between experimental (E) and control (C) group attitude means; however, qualitative analysis showed that greater enhancement of attitudes occurred for first grade E group children than for C group children at that grade level. No differences were present on the generalization measure of empathy. For older children, there was a significant difference between E and C group attitude means qualified by grade level—there was greater enhancement of humane attitudes for E group than for C group fourth graders but no difference for fifth graders. On the generalization measure of empathy, posttest means for the E group were significantly greater than means for the C group regardless of grade level. The results contribute to the growing literature on the relation between children and animals and serve to encourage and validate the efforts of humane educators to improve children's caring and kindness toward companion and noncompanion animals.
Article
Full-text available
The literature on the relationship of companion animals and children shows only a weak effect of human-animal bonding on child development. The use of “pet ownership” or cohabitation rather than the relationship or interaction between the child and the animal as a measure of bonding appears to be a serious and limiting deficiency, which impaired the empirical evidence concerning the development and effects of human-animal bonding. The Companion Animal Bonding Scale is an 8-item behavioral scale describing the extent of child-animal activities. The scale was administered by questionnaire with a childhood focus and a contemporary focus to 121 high school and college students. The Cronbach alpha estimates of internal reliability were 0.82 and 0.77, respectively. Construct validity was indicated by significant correlations between scores on the Pet Attitude Scale and the childhood and contemporary bonding scale of .39 and .40, respectively.
Article
The psychological and emotional roles played by pets in the urban household are examined. Telephone interviews were conducted with 320 pet owners and 116 nonowners in Providence, Rhode Island. Respondents were obtained from a systematic random sample of the telephone directory. Sociodemographic differences exist between pet owners and those who do not have pets. Remarried people, families with children present, and families in the "middle" stages of the life cycle are most likely to have pets, whereas pet ownership is low among widows, empty-nesters, families with infants, and those with annual incomes of $8,000 or less. Responses to the survey indicate that pets are viewed as important family members by people who live in the city. However, the roles played by pets are related to the social structure of the household. Attachment to pets is highest among never-married, divorced, widowed and remarried people, childless couples, newlyweds, and empty-nesters. Never-married, divorced, and remarried people, and people without children present, are also most likely to anthropomorphize their pets. Pet attachment and anthropomorphism are also related to type of pet. Both dimensions of pet-human bonds are highest among people who have dogs. The findings of the survey are discussed within the framework of family development theory and changing household composition in the United States.
Article
This study presents the development and validation of an index of empathy for use with children and adolescents. 56 first graders, 115 fourth graders, and 87 seventh graders were studied. Item means, item-total correlations, test-retest reliabilities, correlations testing the relationship of empathy to aggressiveness and acceptance of individual differences, correlations testing the relationship of this adapted index of empathy to other existing measures of empathy as well as to social desirability response set and reading achievement formed the basis of internal, discriminant, convergent, and general construct validation. The measure demonstrated satisfactory reliability and preliminary construct validity. The study of a subset of items controlling for same-sex versus cross-sex stimulus figures provided the basis for investigating developmental aspects of empathic arousal toward peers of different sexes. Overall, the availability of comparable forms of a measure of empathy for use with children, adolescents, and adults will be useful for exploring the developmental antecedents and conditions surrounding the expression of emotional empathy.
Unpublished doctoral dissertation
  • R K K Cameron
East Haddam, CT: National Association for the Advancement of Humane Education
  • K Savesky
  • Malcarne
Unpublished honors thesis
  • V Malcarne