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Tracing the Profile of Animal Rights Supporters: A Preliminary Investigation

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A question about the "moral rights" of nonhuman animals in the 1993 and 1994 General Social Survey (GSS) effected an understanding of some of the demographics of those supporting animal rights. This study checked results against related questions concerning attitudes toward animal testing and meat consumption. The stereotypical profile of an animal rights supporter is female, well educated, upper-middle class, middle-aged, and white. The data in this study do not support the stereotype. Instead, the young, non-black minorities, and the less educated were more likely to support animal rights; income was not a significant predictor. Other predictors examined included religious denomination, frequency of church attendance, and attitudes toward environmental protection. This study's findings suggest the need to rethink "post-materialist" and "post-citizenship" theories about who supports animal rights. This paper also points the way toward future studies to examine the causal linkages between the predictors and animal rights attitudes.


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