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Understanding attitudes toward the control of nonnative wild and feral mammals: similarities and differences in the opinions of the general public, animal protectionists, and conservationists in New Zealand (Aotearoa)

By M. J. Farnworth, H. Watson, N. J. Adams

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Abstract

Lethal control is used extensively in New Zealand to control nonnative nonhuman mammals. Respondents were surveyed about 8 mammal groups considered pests and their attitudes toward their control and pest status. They also identified the most appropriate method of control for the 8 different mammals. Information was gathered from 3 groups of respondents: nonhuman animal protectionists, conservationists, and the general public. Conservationists routinely rated all animal groups as more severe pests than the general public or animal protectionists, who provided the lowest scores. Rats, stoats, brushtail possums, and rabbits were identified as the 4 most serious pests by all 3 groups. Conservationists were 5.7 and 2.6 times more likely to prefer a lethal method of control than protectionists and the general public, respectively. For all 3 groups an increase in pest score for a given animal saw a decline in importance placed upon the animal's welfare. This relationship was strong for the general public but weak for conservationists and animal protectionists. Understanding aspects of potentially opposing viewpoints may be invaluable in supporting the development of new welfare-focused control methods.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 17
Issue 1
Pages 1-17
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2013.799414
Language English
Author Address Animal Welfare and Biodiversity Research Group, Department of Natural Sciences, Unitec Institute of Technology, Private Bag 92025, Auckland 1025, New Zealand.mfarnworth@unitec.ac.nz
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Tags
  1. Animals
  2. Animal welfare
  3. APEC countries
  4. Attitudes
  5. Australasia
  6. Commonwealth of Nations
  7. Conservation
  8. Control
  9. Developed countries
  10. Feral animals
  11. Lagomorpha
  12. Leporidae
  13. Mammals
  14. Methodologies
  15. New Zealand
  16. Oceania
  17. OECD countries
  18. peer-reviewed
  19. pest control
  20. rabbits
  21. Rats
  22. Rodents
  23. Techniques
  24. vertebrates
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed