Home » Animal Protection Politics » Australian Statistics on Human-Animal Relations

Australian Statistics on Human-Animal Relations

Attitudinal statistics

updated, as at 4-1-14

Attitudes, animals

Attitudes to animals (2012)(n=c1,000):1

Total

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Animal deserve the same rights as people to be free from harm and exploitation

30%

30%

28%

40%

Animals deserve some protection from harm and exploitation, but it is still appropriate to use them for the benefit of humans

61%

61%

66%

55%

Animals don’t need much protection from harm and exploitation since they are just animals

4%

4%

3%

2%

Don’t know

5%

5%

3%

3%

Attitude to Animals Scale (circa 2007)2

Animal Protectionists

General Community

Primary Industry Sector

Overall

Male

Female

Overall

Male

Female

Overall

AAS Score

84.7

78.4

85.9

67.6

63.8

69.5

57.7

SD

10.5

14.8

9.0

9.3

8.7

9.1

10.2

n

396

65

331

550

186

364

29

 

See animals as member of the family (circa 2004) (n=1,350): 88%3

 

Attitudes to the uses of animals (c2003) (n=2,000):4

Quite acceptable to eat meat so long as animals are reared and killed humanely

Meat production and processing industries can be trusted to ensure the safety of the meat product

Modern methods of “factory farming” in the production of eggs, milk and meat are unnatural

Modern methods of “factory farming” in the production of eggs, milk and meat are cruel

It is wrong to use native animals as food

People who are killed to injured by animals usually have brought their misfortune on themselves

Hunting is an extension of natural process that take place in the wild and is therefore quite acceptable

Strongly agree

26%

10%

15%

19%

12%

15%

4%

Agree

67%

53%

36%

33%

24%

49%

26%

Disagree

5%

25%

34%

35%

48%

24%

42%

Strongly disagree

1%

6%

6%

5%

12%

4%

23%

No opinion/DK

1%

6%

10%

8%

4%

8%

5%

What animal welfare means to me, by preference ranking (2006) (n=1,000):5

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

Preventing animal cruelty

29%

24%

13%

3%

Humane treatment of animals

21%

19%

17%

2%

Conserving native species

14%

9%

13%

6%

Caring for our pets

8%

8%

10%

7%

Minimising suffering of animals

7%

15%

16%

4%

Balancing the needs of animals and people

7%

7%

7%

15%

Protecting the rights of animals

6%

8%

12%

11%

Promoting good food quality

5%

3%

3%

39%

Farmers using best practice

2%

6%

6%

14%

 

Attitudes, issues

Views of animal treatment:6

Support

Oppose

Don’t know / not answer

Cruelty to animals

0%

99%

1%

Test cosmetics on animals (sic)

17%

80%

4%

Test medicine on animals

48%

47%

5%

Conduct other types of research on animals

40%

52%

8%

Breed animals for pet shops

50%

46%

4%

Keeping egg laying hens in cages for their entire lives

12%

86%

1%

Killing male chicks in egg production

24%

72%

1%

Making cows pregnant every year and taking their calves from them to obtain milk

47%

47%

6%

 

Human-animal relations (c2003) (n=2,000):7

Acceptable to hunt feral animals that degrade the environment

Wrong to hunt native animals

Fishing for recreation more acceptable than hunting for recreation

Keep animals as pets is unnatural and demeaning to both parties

People who mistreat their animals should be punished in the same way as people who mistreat

Animals should have the same moral rights as human beings

Is is right to use animals for medical testing if it might save human lives

Strongly agree

20%

35%

20%

2%

45%

15%

8%

Agree

48%

36%

58%

8%

39%

40%

47%

Disagree

21%

19%

16%

48%

12%

34%

26%

Strongly disagree

7%

6%

3%

38%

3%

6%

12%

No opinion/DK

4%

4%

3%

4%

1%

20%

6%

 

Australian performance on the issue of animal welfare (2006) (n=1,000):8

  • Very good: 7%
  • Good: 34%
  • Moderate: 37%
  • Poor: 15%
  • Very poor: 5%

 

Issue ranking, by preference (2006) (n=1,000):9

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

Health

28%

23%

14%

2%

Rising prices/inflation

16%

12%

15%

3%

Family relationships

13%

9%

8%

10%

Tax reform

11%

10%

8%

7%

Education

10%

18%

18%

3%

Terrorism

7%

5%

8%

12%

The environment

5%

8%

10%

4%

Unemployment

4%

9%

11%

7%

Animal Welfare

4%

3%

4%

34%

International Affairs and trade

2%

3%

5%

19%

 

Live exports (2012)(n=c1,000):10

Total

Vote Labor

Vote Lib/Nat

Vote Greens

Australia should not export live sheep and cattle to any country

25%

25%

24%

35%

Australia should only export live sheep and cattle to countries which guarantee they will be treated humanely

54%

53%

55%

58%

Australia should export live sheep and cattle to any country that wants them

15%

15%

19%

5%

Don’t know

6%

7%

3%

1%

 

Attitudes, companion animals/pets

Views of pet (2006) (n=1,000):11

  • Feel very close to pet: 93%
  • When things go close to pet wrong it is comforting to be with my pet : 92%
  • Feel very satisfied with my pet: 86%

 

Why keep a pet (circa 2004) (n=1,350): 12

Cat owners

Dog owners

Amusement and entertainment of children

24%

22%

For competitive showing

1%

2%

For other competition / sport

0%

2%

For work

1%

6%

For security / protection

2%

48%

For company of self

79%

82%

For company of children

44%

43%

 

Feelings towards cats (2006)(n=464):13

  • General feeling (1-7 Likert scale)
    • Owners: 6.06
    • Non-owners: 4.34
  • Wandering cats a problem:
    • Owners: 53.5%
    • Non-owners: 66.8%
Issues (1-7 Likert scale)

Owners

Non-owners

Cats pose a serious threat to native wildlife

5.69

6.12

Cats do not need to roam

4.30

4.51

Many people own too many cats

4.03

4.81

In general, cats are a major problem in the community

3.47

4.35

 

 

Attitudes, vegetarianism

Vegetarians compared with population (2013) (n = 20,267):14

  • I avoid dairy foods whenever possible : 145% more likely
  • Had iron deficiency/ anaemia in the last 12 months : 59 % more likely
  • I favour natural medicines and health products : 50% more likely
  • A low fat diet is a way of life for me : 47% more likely
  • I enjoy health food: 30% more likely
  • BMI = acceptable weight (18+): 29% more likely
  • Had anxiety in the last 12 months: 24% more likely
  • I love to do as many sports as possible: 23% more likely
  • Did some formal exercise (eg. gym, aerobics, running, cycling, etc.): 7% more likely
  • Drank alcohol in last 7 days (18+): 27% less likely

 

Why include vegetarian meals in diet (2006) (n=514):15

  • They’re healthier: 71%
  • You’re trying to lose or maintain your weight : 45%
  • They’re cheaper : 33%
  • You like the taste: 76%
  • They’re better for the environment : 31%
  • You prefer not to eat meat : 26%
  • For religious or personal beliefs : 13%
  • None / Don’t know: 3%

Why not eat more vegetarian meals:

  • Don’t know what to cook: 31%
  • Take too long to cook: 9%
  • Don’t like taste: 26%
  • Miss the taste of meat: 64%
  • Need meat for essential nutrients: 75%
  • Don’t make you feel full: 34%
  • Only for people living alternative lifestyles: 14%
  • None / Don’t know: 6%

Attitudes, veganism

Views of the vegan diet (2010) (n=1,202):16

  • 54% of Australians believe that vegan diets can be healthy. 38% think this is false. 8% don’t know.
  • Reasons would become vegan:
    • evidence that many farming practices cause stress and pain for millions of animals every year (36%)
    • evidence they can be healthy on a vegan diet (35%)
    • evidence that being vegan is better for the environment (31%)
    • more vegan menu items in cafes or restaurants (25%)
    • cost less than their current lifestyle (23%)
    • family or friends that are vegan (20%)
    • more vegans in general (17%)

 

Attitudes, farming

What makes a good farmer (2008) (Victoria only, n=1,000) – spontaneous recall:17

  • Competence: 58%
  • Environmental: 43%
  • Hard working: 40%
  • Caring for animal welfare: 16%

Farmers treat animals humanely (1-10 scale) (Victoria only, n=999):

  • Importance to society (mean): 8.7
  • Performance (mean): 6.8

Perceived and desired level of influence on farm practices (1-5 scale) (Victoria only, n=993):

Desired influence Perceived influence Over/under
Individual farmers 4.2 3.5 -0.7
Farming organisations 3.9 3.5 -0.4
CSIRO 3.8 3.3 -0.5
Consumers 3.6 2.7 -0.9
Consumer organisations 3.3 2.9 -0.4
Government departments 3.3 3.7 0.4
Environmental groups 3.2 2.8 -0.4
Animal rights groups 3 2.6 -0.4
Chemical and biotech companies 2.1 3.5 1.4
Supermarkets 2.1 4 1.9

 

Behavioural statistics

Behaviours, animals

68% of Australian’s keep an animal on their property (cira 2004) (n=2,000)18

 

Animal use behaviours (c2003) (n=2,000):19

Fishing (inland)

Fishing (sea)

Horse riding

Hunting feral animals

Hunting native animals

Pet show (competitor)

Pet show (visitor)

Visit aquarium

Visit wildlife park

Visit zoo

Frequently

13%

10%

5%

2%

0%

2%

3%

4%

8%

4%

At least once

17%

16%

9%

3%

1%

2%

19%

31%

38%

33%

Never

70%

73%

86%

95%

99%

97%

78%

65%

54%

63%

 

Behaviour, diet

Self reported dietary identification (2009) (n=1,202)20

  • Vegetarian: 5%
  • Vegan: 1%
  • Neither vegetarian nor vegan: 92%
  • Don’t know: 2%

Self-reported consumption:

  • 98% eat animals (including water animals)
  • 98% eat milk products or eggs
  • 94% eat birds
  • 88% eat fish, prawns or other water animals
  • 79% buy products made from animal skin or sheep fur
  • 68% visit zoos, aquatic parks or aquariums
  • 40% attend or watch events like dog racing, horse racing, the circus or rodeos
  • 43% avoid buying products tested on animals

 

Behaviour, pets

Responsible pet ownership (2006) (n=1000):21

  • Take pet for regular checkups and annual vaccinations : 72%
  • Provide preventative health care such as flea and worming treatments: 95%
  • Always / frequently keep dog on leash when required: 95%
  • Desexed Dogs : 78%
  • Desexed Cats: 93%

 

Behaviour, organisational memberships

Association with animal organisation (c2003) (n=2,000):22

Canine Defence League

Greenpeace

Earth First

PETA

RSPCA

Wilderness Society

World Wildlife Fund

Member

0%

2%

0%

0%

2%

1%

1%

Supporter

16%

57%

25%

31%

91%

64%

63%

Opponent

1%

7%

1%

2%

1%

1%

1%

No view

83%

34%

74%

67%

6%

33%

35%

 

Behaviour, charity

Sponsored an animal via a charity in the last year (2013): 0.32% (n=1,562)23

 

Behaviour, hunting

Recreational hunters c300,000 (2012) (n=c6,700)24

 

Behaviour, zoos

Reason for visiting, likert scale (circa 2003) (n=787):25

Spend time with family/friends

See lots of different animals

Learn about wildlife

Be in a pleasant outdoor space

See endangered animals

Learn about wildlife conservation

Contribute to wildlife conservation

Mean (1-5 scale)

4.2

4.3

4

4.1

4

3.9

3.6

 

Behaviours, farming

Took action regarding farming, reason (2008) (Victoria only, n=552):26

  • Pro-animal welfare: 26%
  • Anti chemicals and GM: %19
  • Pro-environment: %19
  • Pro-farmer: 19%
  • Better food: 12%
  • Other: 31%
  • Don’t Know: 4%

Action taken regarding farming (Victoria only, n=1,000):

  • No action: 45%
  • Changed shopping beahviour: 31%
  • Convince other person: 15%
  • Letter to a newspaper or Member of Parliament: 9%

Proportion of actions by attitude (Victoria only, n=1,000):

Characteristic

% of pop

% activists

% activists

% of pop

Characteristic

Trust farmers less

50

43

21

50

Trust farmers more

Values environmental sustainability more

48

40

23

52

Values environmental sustainability less

Values animal welfare more

46

39

24

54

Values animal welfare less

Higher income

32

39

28

54

Lower income

Some farm experience

49

37

26

50

No farm experience

Has higher education

43

37

26

55

No higher education

More knowledgeable about farming

55

36

24

45

Little or no knowledge of farming

Female

52

36

26

48

Male

Aged 18 to 44

51

34

28

49

Aged 45 or above

Urban

81

31

31

19

Rural

 

1Essential Research, 2012, Essential Report, Essential Research: Sydney.

2Tania D. Signal and Nicola Taylor, 2006, “Attitudes to Animals in the Animal Protection Community Compared to a Normative Community Sample”, Society & Animals 14:3.

3Adrian Franklin, 2007, “Human-Nonhuman Animal Relationships in Australia: An Overview of Results from the First National Survey and Follow-up Case Studies 2000-2004”, Society and Animals, 15:7-27.

4Adrian Franklin, 2007, “Human-Nonhuman Animal Relationships in Australia: An Overview of Results from the First National Survey and Follow-up Case Studies 2000-2004”, Society and Animals, 15:7-27.

5Angela Southwell, Amarylise Bessey and Barbara Barker, 2006, Attitudes Towards Animal Welfare : A Research Report , TNS Consultants: Canberra.

6Vegetarian/Vegan Society of Queensland, 2010, A Pound of Flesh : A survey of 1202 Australians about whether they’re vegetarian or vegan and what their attitudes to animals are.

7Adrian Franklin, 2007, “Human-Nonhuman Animal Relationships in Australia: An Overview of Results from the First National Survey and Follow-up Case Studies 2000-2004”, Society and Animals, 15:7-27.

8Angela Southwell, Amarylise Bessey and Barbara Barker, 2006, Attitudes Towards Animal Welfare : A Research Report , TNS Consultants: Canberra.

9Angela Southwell, Amarylise Bessey and Barbara Barker, 2006, Attitudes Towards Animal Welfare : A Research Report , TNS Consultants: Canberra.

10Essential Research, 2012, Essential Report, Essential Research: Sydney.

11Bruce Headey , 2006, National People and Pets Survey : Socially Responsible Pet Ownership In Australia: A Decade of Progress, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research , University of Melbourne.

12Adrian Franklin, 2007, “Human-Nonhuman Animal Relationships in Australia: An Overview of Results from the First National Survey and Follow-up Case Studies 2000-2004”, Society and Animals, 15:7-27.

13Samia R. Toukhsati, Emily Young, Pauleen C. Bennett and Grahame J. Coleman, 2012, “Wandering cats: attitudes and behaviors towards cat containment in Australia ”, Anthrozoös , 25(1):61-74.

14Roy Morgan Research, 2013, Meat-free, health-conscious and a little bit anxious: Australia’s vegetarians, 20 November.

15Newspoll, July 2008.

16Vegetarian/Vegan Society of Queensland, 2010, A Pound of Flesh : A survey of 1202 Australians about whether they’re vegetarian or vegan and what their attitudes to animals are.

17Peter Parbery and Roger Wilkinson, 2012, Victorians’ Attitudes to Farming , Research Papers 2012.3, Department of Primary Industry: Melbourne.

18Adrian Franklin, 2007, “Human-Nonhuman Animal Relationships in Australia: An Overview of Results from the First National Survey and Follow-up Case Studies 2000-2004”, Society and Animals, 15:7-27.

19Adrian Franklin, 2007, “Human-Nonhuman Animal Relationships in Australia: An Overview of Results from the First National Survey and Follow-up Case Studies 2000-2004”, Society and Animals, 15:7-27.

20Vegetarian/Vegan Society of Queensland, 2010, A Pound of Flesh : A survey of 1202 Australians about whether they’re vegetarian or vegan and what their attitudes to animals are.

21Bruce Headey , 2006, National People and Pets Survey : Socially Responsible Pet Ownership In Australia: A Decade of Progress, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research , University of Melbourne.

22Adrian Franklin, 2007, “Human-Nonhuman Animal Relationships in Australia: An Overview of Results from the First National Survey and Follow-up Case Studies 2000-2004”, Society and Animals, 15:7-27.

23ChantLink, 2013, Public Trust and Confidence in Australian Charities, Canberra: Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

24Greg Baxter, Neal Finch, Peter Murray and Julia Ho, 2012, Attitudes And Characteristics of Australian Recreational Hunters .

25Andrew Tribe , c2004, Perceptions Of Zoos: Conservation And Credibility , School of Animal Studies, University of Queensland.

26Peter Parbery and Roger Wilkinson, 2012, Victorians’ Attitudes to Farming , Research Papers 2012.3, Department of Primary Industry: Melbourne.