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STUDY: Animal advocacy in the U.S. and Canada

The animal advocacy movement continues to grow in the U.S. and Canada, with roughly 47% of the respondents becoming engaged with advocacy in the last decade.

JOY MCLEOD: Faunalytics recently published a study about the state of animal advocacy in the U.S. and Canada. The study focused on advocates’ current experiences but also included questions about how advocates got their start in the movement. These included how they first became interested in animal advocacy and the type of animals they advocated for at the outset: for instance, farmed animals or companion animals… 161 animal advocates participated in this study…

This study highlights that the animal advocacy movement is continuing to grow in the U.S. and Canada, with roughly 47% of the sample becoming engaged with advocacy in the last decade. The most commonly endorsed reason for becoming an animal advocate was being exposed to broadcast or print media, which is good news for those putting resources into producing broadcast and print media, especially documentaries, books, and articles… Most commonly, advocates started off advocating for farmed animals or companion animals, accounting for roughly 81% of the advocates surveyed. The same picture emerged for advocates’ current or most recent cause area, with most advocates supporting farmed animals and/or companion animals.

How someone became involved in the movement—through media, interpersonal experiences, a non-animal specific desire to help, or something else—was correlated with their current diet. Advocates who became involved because of a non-animal specific desire to help were less likely to currently identify as vegan or plant-based. It was also related to their first cause area, with advocates who became involved in the movement through media or interpersonal experiences to be more likely to advocate for farmed animals than individuals who became involved in the movement because of a general desire to help (not specific to animals). But how advocates got involved in the movement was only marginally related to their level of education and not related to how long they’ve been involved in the movement, the number of hours they invest per week, or whether or not they were compensated for their efforts.

Similarly, advocates’ first cause area — farmed animals, companion animals, or other types of animals — was related to how long they’ve been involved in the movement, with advocates for farmed animals being the most junior on average. As expected, an advocate’s first cause area was also related to diet—advocates for farmed animals were more likely to be vegan or plant-based than advocates for companion animals. But advocates’ first cause area was not related to their level of education, their hours per week, or whether or not they are compensated for their efforts.

Finally, there is considerable variability in advocates’ cause areas over time. The results suggest that for a majority of advocates (between 51% and 86%), their initial area of interest is relatively stable over time, especially with respect to advocates of farmed animals—just over 85% of advocates who started out supporting farmed animals continue to do so. But our results also suggest that advocates’ areas of interest shift over time, as well, often to include farmed animals. SOURCE…

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