Attitudes towards animals' rights in Portugal: the influence of social values
Líbano Monteiro, Teresa
Faculty of Human Sciences Portuguese Catholic University Lisbon, Portugal
PhD - Sociology Institute of Social Sciences Lisbon, Portugal
Attitudes towards animals' rights and protection have constantly been neglected as a legitimate scientific object by Portuguese social sciences. The first national survey on this issue was conducted in 2007, and this paper presents some of its main results. More specifically, we will address the subject in different dimensions, such as animal legal protection, the use of animals with commercial purposes, in bullfights, circus or other kind of shows, scientific experiments, as well as animal abandonment and abuse. Drawing on Ronald Inglehart's (1990) scale of human values, we hypothesise that attitudes towards animal rights may be partly explained by materialist and post-materialist values. Statistical analysis has shown that, though a huge consensus exists amongst Portuguese population regarding the need to increase animals' rights and legal protection, persistent differences may be found and partly explained by social values. With this paper we also seek to draw attention upon the interest of putting attitudes towards animals' rights into the social sciences agenda, as they may constitute an interesting observatory of the leading changes concerning human values.