Young Women’s Attitudes Towards Veg*nism
Animal advocates know that young people are a key demographic for both receiving pro-animal messages and promoting a pro-animal lifestyle. In fact, many animal advocates are young people themselves who may promote animal advocacy in their schools and extracurriculars. Many animal advocates also know that young women seem particularly receptive to becoming a part of the animal protection movement.
Back in 2013, Faunalytics (then HRC), along with Mercy For Animals, sought to better understand the attitudes of young women from the ages of 13-21 towards animals, veg*nism, and related issues. The online survey collected more than 1,000 responses, with a fairly even split among ages, as well as overall population statistics based on region.
The study reveals a huge range of information about the lives of young women, and how a constellation of factors affect their actions. On the subject of influences, 91% of respondents ranked family among their top five influences, while “friends or boyfriend/girlfriend,” was ranked number one by 24% of respondents and ranked as a top five influence by 88% of respondents. Meanwhile, majorities of respondents stated they had talked to a friend (56%), watched a film (56%), or watched an online video (55%) about factory farming. Smaller but still substantial proportions of respondents had visited a website (42%), read a book (31%), attended a talk/lecture (26%), and/or read a leaflet (24%).
The connection between food choices and farmed animal suffering was generally strong: a slight majority of respondents (51%) agreed, “eating animal products (like meat, eggs, and dairy) directly contributes to the suffering of animals.” That connection translated to the following dietary choices: about one in five respondents (19%) say they “sometimes” eat meat, while 3% say “rarely” and 3% say “never.” Among those who said they “never” consume meat, all but one respondent (97%) said they consider themselves vegetarian or vegan. For the current small sample of vegetarians, the primary motivation is clearly to “prevent animals from suffering and being killed,” ranked number one by 70% of vegetarians. “It’s better for my health” came in a distant second with just 13% of respondents ranking it number one.
Even though the study is from 2013, for animal advocates the numbers can still be useful. The data contained in the full study (link below) paints a fairly complete picture for understanding the attitudes of young women towards animals and veg*nism. While attitudes certainly change over time, and the animal movement has grown much in the last five years, the data contained in the study can still help to outline some general guidelines for advocacy geared towards that demographic. Secondly, the study could be replicated now, and longitudinal data could be derived from it.