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The under-representation of African Americans in animal welfare fields in the United States

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Abstract:

This research explored possible reasons for the under-representation of African Americans in animal welfare fields. Semi-structured interviews of nine senior-level African Americans working in the animal welfare-related fields of veterinary medicine, nonprofit animal welfare organizations, animal shelters, and animal control revealed the following reasons: 1) economic disparities, 2) on-going civil rights struggle, 3) moral obligation to serve people, 4) unattractive career incentives, 5) inadequate career exposure and recruitment, 6) non-supportive environments, 7) negative images of the fields, 8) little or no positive animal experience, and 9) prejudice and discrimination. Participants objected to the suggestion of cultural differences in attitudes toward companion animals. All participants said increasing diversity in animal welfare fields was essential, and made suggestions for its increase.
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