Students' attitudes to animal welfare and rights in Europe and Asia
A survey of attitudes towards the welfare and rights of animals was conducted in universities in 11 European and Asian countries, to improve understanding of cultural differences that might impact on trade and international relations. Collaborators' universities were recruited in each country to assist in the design, translation and administration of the survey via the internet in a convenient selection of the country's universities, providing 3,433 student responses from at least 103 universities. Respondents rated the acceptability of 43 major concerns about animals (focused on type of use, animal integrity, killing animals, animal welfare, experimentation on animals, changes in animal genotypes, the environment for animals and societal attitudes towards animals). Students from European countries had more concern for animal welfare than students from Asian countries, which may be partly explained by increased affluence of European students as there was a positive correlation between student expenditure and concern for animal welfare and rights. Southern and central European countries had most concern for animal rights and unnatural practices. Those in communist or former communist countries in Asia and Europe had most concern about killing animals and those in northern European countries the least. Regional similarities between neighbouring countries were evident in responses to animal issues and there were no differences between ethnic groups within a country. Thus, there were national and continental differences in European and Asian students' attitudes to animals' welfare and rights, which appear to arise as a result of the socio-political situation in regions rather than religious or other differences.
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