Public is Heeding Animal-Rights Activists (Also: Animal Rights Activists Getting Their Message Across)
Evaluate the public’s behavior and opinions on range of animal issues, including meat consumption, animal testing, and hunting.
Animal rights activists are having some influence over mainstream America.
According to an Associated Press poll, there is wide support for beliefs usually associated with activists.
Two thirds of the 1004 people polled agreed that “an animal’s right to live free of suffering should be just as important as a person’s right o live free of suffering.” Agree strongly (38%), Agree somewhat (29%), Disagree somewhat (18%), Disagree strongly (12%), Don’t know (3%). Two thirds of Americans also feel that it’s seldom or never right to use animals in testing cosmetics, 31% believe it’s right.
59% say killing animals for fur is always wrong, which is up from a 1989 ABC News poll with identical wording that found 46% opposed.
51% say that sport hunting is always wrong, 47% felt it was ok. Hunting was ok with 60% of men, but with only 35% of women. 7.5% of those polled rarely or never eat meat.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service records show 5.9% of Americans bought hunting licenses last year, which is less than the peak in 1975 of 7.7%. According to a scientist at the Center for Animals and Public Policy at Tuft’s University, the number of animals used in scientific research has dropped by about half since 1968 due to technological advances such as cell culturing and computer modeling, although activism has also contributed to this decline.
The AP poll shows 70% approve of using animals in medical research under at least some circumstances. The AP poll shows 2% who say they never eat meat, poultry or fish, 6% eat meat rarely, 32% occasionally and 71% frequently. 10% of women, and 10% of adults under 35 years rarely or never eat meat, while 5% of men act similarly.
USDA statistics show that red meat consumption has declined from 126 pounds per capita in 1975 to the current 115 pounds per capita (1997). However, health concerns, rather than concern for animals are the driving trend as during the same period, per capita consumption of poultry has doubled and seafood consumption has risen by 25%.