Moral Convictions and Culling Animals: A Survey in the Netherlands

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Abstract:

In this paper the results are presented of a national survey in the Netherlands. The aim was to identify and describe the convictions about animals that people have in Dutch society and the role of these in judgments on the culling of healthy animals during an animal disease epidemic. A total of 1,999 responses was received and two groups of respondents were distinguished: A profile (50% of the respondents) and B profile (28%). The A profile respondents considered humans to be superior to animals, whereas the B profile respondents considered both to be equal. Both groups were of the opinion that animals have value, that people have a duty to care for and protect all animals, and that all animals have a right to life. These convictions were based on a number of values, such as animal life, the ability of animals to feel pain and emotions (sentience), and the importance of animal species in the ecosystem. The results of a case study suggest that convictions play a role in judgment. More A respondents agreed with the culling of healthy animals during an animal disease epidemic. More B respondents partly (dis)agreed or disagreed with this. Most respondents (A: 81%, B: 61%) agreed with culling to protect human life. The most important argument against culling was the value of animal life. The A respondents rated all arguments against culling significantly lower than did the B respondents.

Keywords: CONVICTIONS; CULLING; EPIDEMICS; RIGHTS; WELFARE

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175303712X13403555186334

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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