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Improved nonhuman animal welfare is related more to income equality than it is to income

By M. C. Morris

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The link between nonhuman animal welfare, income, and income inequality (Gini coefficient) was tested using consumption of animal products, laws protecting animals on the farm from the worst abuses, and animals used in experimentation as indicators. Experimentation on all animals and on rodents significantly increased in high-income European countries, although there was some evidence that the increase in experimentation on cats and dogs started to flatten out for the highest income countries. Consumption of all flesh products in high-income countries declined in more equal societies. More equal high-income countries also had stricter regulations protecting animals, although the same correlation was not seen between U.S. states. In New Zealand, there was some evidence that testing on cats and dogs declined during years when equality was improving. The results provide little evidence for a Kuznets effect of income on animal welfare, with the possible exception of companion animal treatment. They do, however, suggest that greater equality can be a predictor for better treatment of animals. Previous research has strongly suggested that social conditions for humans improve with greater equality. The same may be true for nonhuman animals. Alternatively, conditions conducive to improving human income equality may also lead to better animal welfare outcomes.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 16
Issue 3
Pages 272-293
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2013.768921
Language English
Author Address New Zealand Centre for Human Animal Studies, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch 8140, New
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal health and hygiene
  2. Animal production
  3. Animals
  4. Animal welfare
  5. APEC countries
  6. Australasia
  7. Canidae
  8. Canine
  9. Carnivores
  10. Cats
  11. Commonwealth of Nations
  12. conditions
  13. Countries
  14. Developed countries
  15. Dogs
  16. Europe
  17. Humans
  18. Income
  19. Indicators
  20. Law and legal issues
  21. Laws and regulations
  22. Living
  23. Mammals
  24. Men
  25. New Zealand
  26. North America
  27. Oceania
  28. OECD countries
  29. peer-reviewed
  30. Pets and companion animals
  31. predictions
  32. Primates
  33. regulations
  34. Rodents
  35. United States of America
  36. vertebrates
  1. peer-reviewed