Attitudes On Animal Testing And The Moral Rights Of Animals
Evaluates attitudes relating to the general concept of the moral rights of animals and specifically to testing on animals for medical reasons, using General Social Survey data from 1993 and 1994.
According to a 1994 Tufts University Center for Animals and Public Policy, 50 million plus animals were used each year for medical research in America before 1970. By 1992, because of the animal rights influence, this number decreased to 20 million.
The USDA now requires labs to categorize animal use into three groups, research causing no pain, research causing pain and distress but relieved by drugs, and research that causes pain and distress but not relievable by drugs.
The 1993/1994 National Opinion Research Center’s survey asked if respondents agreed that “Animal rights should have the same moral rights that human beings do:
- Strongly agree (6.1%)
- Agree (23.8%)
- Neither (19.6%)
- Disagree (34.8%)
- Strongly Disagree (15.8%)
Survey also asks for respondent agreement with “It is right to use animals for testing if it might save human lives.”
- Strongly agree (14.4%)
- Agree (51.7%)
- Neither (15.0%)
- Disagree (12.9%)
- Strongly disagree (6.0%)
This data showed that females are 40% more likely than males to agree that animals should have the same rights as humans. The sex differences was apparent across all demographics, but more prevalent amount those with 4+ years of college, those 80 years and older, and those 18-29 years old.
Belief in moral rights of animals appears to decrease with age.
Those who think it is definitely or probably true that “human beings developed from earlier species of animals” (48%) are more likely to be supportive of the moral rights of animals.
Support for the use of animals in research seems to increase with age.
Those who support the moral rights of animals are less likely to approve the use of animals in testing than those who don’t.
A weak relationship was noted between animal testing and abortion rights. Those supportive of animal rights are slightly more likely to agree with abortion (48%) than those who oppose it (43%).
A slight relationship was also noted between animal testing and capital punishment, with those supportive of animal testing being 4% more likely to support capital punishment than those disapproving.