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Ve*gan, Activist, Radical: Social Identity and Farmed Animal Advocacy

The study supports the hypothesis that lifestyle choices and actions for animal justice are interconnected, and radicalism and conventional political activism are not mutually exclusive.

JEANATTE SHUTAY: Support for factory farmed animals is driven by complex social contexts that have historically been examined in an overly simplistic manner. For example, both a vegetarian and a radical may sympathize with animals and therefore share a common ethic, but the action taken by the two personas is typically very different. A vegetarian may adopt a lifestyle choice approach (not consuming meat) while a radical may engage in political action. The purpose of this study was to examine the intersections between ethics and action, to identify personas that relate to various types of animal welfare behaviors…

The survey contained demographic questions, five Likert scale questions pertaining to psychological group membership (e.g., identification as a vegetarian, vegan, animal supporter), and 18 action-related questions (e.g., donate, purchase humane, limit meat, peaceful rallies)… A total of 583 responses were obtained from North America… Three segments of participants were labeled as “ambivalent omnivores”, “lifestyle choice activists”, and “committed vegetarian radicals”… The results indicate that activists and radicals donated significantly more to direct action campaigns than ambivalent omnivores. Conversely, ambivalent omnivores donated more to political campaigns. Furthermore, activists were more likely to click on the link to the bill of rights than were ambivalent omnivores. No other significant differences were found between the three groups.

The results of this study support the hypothesis that lifestyle choices and actions for justice are interconnected for many people, and radicalism and conventional political activism are not mutually exclusive. These findings can help guide animal advocacy groups with their campaign approach. For example, providing people with an opportunity to develop relevant social identities and align with relevant actions may facilitate overall engagement. Furthermore, these results may provide valuable insights for animal advocacy groups because they provide identifiable segments for animal advocacy groups to target in a more differentiated way.  SOURCE…

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