Vegetarians And Non-Vegetarians On Companion Animal Attitude And Empathy
Past research found that positive attitudes toward animals are positively correlated with human-directed empathy. One of the most common reasons for becoming a vegetarian is to avoid cruelty toward animals. Based on the above literature, we hypothesized that vegetarians, especially moral vegetarians, would show higher human-directed empathy and more positive attitudes toward companion animals and other animals than non-vegetarians.
Seventy-two vegetarians and 67 non-vegetarians participated in the study. Companion animals attitudes were measured using the modified Pet Attitude Scale (PAS-M), and human-directed empathy was measured with the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI), which has four subscales. Vegetarian males had significantly higher empathy and significantly more positive attitudes toward companion animals compared with non-vegetarian males; however, there was no differences among females.
There were no differences between moral vegetarians and non-moral vegetarians on human-directed empathy and attitude toward companion animals. Empathy toward humans and attitudes toward companion animals were positively correlated for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians. We conceptualized the dietary choice of a vegetarian as a lifestyle that can be explained by their political thinking, personality, and personal value systems.[Abstract excerpted from report]