FiXiT is a nonprofit with the mission of ending companion animal overpopulation by convincing a population of pet owners that continues to breed unwanted dogs and cats to spay or neuter their animals. Our approach to this problem is to use a methodology that determines which influences will change the human behaviors that result in a situation where millions of animals are killed in U.S. shelters every year. We are currently conducting a case study of our marketing-based methodology to increase demand for spay and neuter in a controlled population on a Caribbean island: St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.
Doing our part for the economy, HRC is currently seeking an experienced researcher, writer, and support person to work part-time for our organization. The position requires a commitment of 25-30 hours per week, on average, and offers a flexible schedule. The ideal candidate will have experience with both research (i.e., survey design, analysis, etc.) and animal protection issues. The newly created Research/Communications Coordinator position will support HRC's broader objectives by maintaining our HumaneSpot.org research database and other resources. See the full job description and please forward to people who might be interested!
Airline pilots complete a lengthy pre-flight checklist before the plane leaves the gate. These provisions "ensure that appropriate information is gathered and considered before flight. It is extremely important for pilots to be well-prepared ahead of time with the information they will need to make good… decisions." (Wikipedia) You wouldn't want the captain to just head down the runway without these preparations. Yet how many of our programs, campaigns, or other efforts take off without any advance review?
At HRC, we always emphasize the need to research the efficacy of outreach tactics and messages and we’ve helped dozens of animal organizations do just that. While animal advocates spend a lot of time debating which outreach methods are most successful, these discussions are often fueled by opinion and anecdote rather than evidence. One such debate is over vegetarian/vegan (“veg”) outreach videos. Should they focus on health, the environment or ethics? Should they show graphic images? Should they encourage veganism only or focus on meat reduction?
The effectiveness of four vegetarian/vegan outreach videos was tested among a random US sample of respondents ages 15-23. Overall there were few differences between videos in terms of respondents' willingness to reduce or eliminate meat, eggs, or dairy. Regardless of the video watched, an average of 31% of respondents indicated a willingness to reduce at least one animal product in the future and an average of 9% indicated willingness to completely eliminate at least one animal product from their diet.
HRC has been conducting research for the benefit of animals and animal advocates for more than a decade. One of our first independent studies, which we began in 2004, was an examination of semi-vegetarians and meat reducers, including how many there are and their opinions, motivations, and barriers to further change. What we learned not only predicted the success of the "Meatless Mondays" concept, it also validated incremental advocacy for animals. This notion – that we can achieve more through gradual change than by seeking overnight success – applies to almost all forms of animal advocacy.
In the previous posts in this series I have discussed theories and research regarding the symbolism of meat in western cultures, and how this symbolism is reflected in perceptions of people who don’t eat meat. In this final post I will summarise some recent research regarding strategies for reducing meat consumption that may be useful for vegetarian advocates.
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