Research Tools and Methods
This study looked at the risk of collisions between ships and several species of whales off the coast of Southern California. Based on the study’s findings, the authors advocate spreading traffic between an existing shipping route in the Santa Barbara Channel and a proposed route south of the northern Channel Islands to reduce the ship-strike risk for humpback and fin whales. They concluded however that measures to concentrate shipping traffic in the routes under study would not be helpful for blue whales—a species whose risk of ship collisions is thought to be greater than that allowed under U.S. law.
Differences Between Health and Ethical Vegetarians. Strength of Conviction, Nutrition Knowledge, Dietary Restriction, and...Submitted on Mar 25, 2013 (Original item from 2013) Diet and Nutrition | Farmed Animals | General Animal Protection | Research Tools and Methods | Vegetarianism and Veganism
The ways in which health and ethical vegans/vegetarians are dissimilar is explored in this piece of research. The authors used an online survey to determine how those in each category differed based on conviction, dietary restriction, duration of adherence, and knowledge of nutrition. Results showed that while the level of nutritional knowledge was no different, ethical vegans/vegetarians had stronger feelings of conviction, consumed fewer animal products, and had been following the diet for a greater length of time than those who motivated by health.
This study examined attitudes towards three unpopular animals (mice, snails, and woodlice) in a group of youth. One group was exposed to animals from these three species, while the other was not. At the conclusion of the study, the youth who had hands-on contact in the classroom reported far fewer feelings of disgust and fear in relation to these animals than the control group. The idea that perceptions of animals can be positively shaped by physical contact is an interesting one for advocates to consider as they seek to improve the plight of so-called pests, while also avoiding situations where humans interact with these animals in an exploitive way.
New research explores the onset of animal hoarding, which often comes after a history of appropriate animal companionship. This study investigated whether those who have what many would consider an unreasonable number of cats—but do not fit the clinical definition of hoarding—share the psychological and demographic profile of animal hoarders. The study found that individuals in this group were more likely to be older, have a greater attachment to their cats, and displayed a notable positive relationship between anxiety and hoarding behavior, and thus were more readily comparable to clinical animal hoarders than to a typical guardian with one or two cats. Understanding the warning signs for animal hoarding is an important step in tackling this unfortunate outcome for both the animals and their troubled guardians.
In this study, the authors gauged humans’ perceptions of differently colored cats using an online survey that asked participants to assign personality descriptors to cats with five different types of colorings: bi-colored, black, orange, tricolored, and white. The 10 personality characteristics under study ranged from tolerant to intolerant, and friendly to aloof. Results indicate there is indeed a connection between coat color and humans’ perception of a cat’s personality. This finding has ramifications for those who work with rescued cats, especially in how they promote differently colored cats to prospective homes.
This study outlines trends in the use of mice as research subjects in studies that involve exposure to prolonged pain—an area of particular ethical concern for advocates. The results show that this type of research has increased significantly in the past decade. The authors also uncovered what they believe to be an indifference to the 3Rs (replacement, reduction, and refinement) by those conducting prolonged pain research on mice.
Certain risks come with giving domestic cats free range of the outdoors, including threats to their wellbeing as well as that of billions of small wild animals. This study looks at the safety of one approach to this issue—cat collars with ID tags and predation deterrent devices—which some guardians shy away from due to fears they are hazardous for their companions. Data analyzed from a number of sources indicates that cat injuries and deaths attributed to collars are infrequent.
This study speaks to the highly threatened nature of the African forest elephant. The authors quantified a serious downturn in their population by undertaking a broad review of survey data from nine years of observational field research in five countries. This pointed to what the authors refer to as a widespread and catastrophic decline in the African forest elephant population (down 62%), much of which they say can be tied to poaching and the trade in ivory. The authors also reference a number of contributing issues and call for effective multi-level action.
Findings from this survey of animal advocates supports classifying the “animal rights” movement as a post-citizenship social movement. The movement’s advocates were found to be well-educated and most reported being in the middle income or affluent range. A large segment indicated that their deeply held commitment to the movement stemmed from moral grounds. Personal commitment to the values of the movement was evidenced by respondents’ lifestyle choices: over two-thirds maintained a vegan diet (with a further quarter identifying as vegetarian). There was also a significant commitment to cruelty-free clothing and an interest in supporting animal-friendly companies.
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