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Understanding Preferences for Humane and Cruel Treatment of Pest Rodents in Site C, Khayelitsha, South Africa

By Adam Buckland, Nicoli Nattrass

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

The cruel treatment of pest rodents is a neglected area of study. This paper uses a representative survey from Khayelitsha (Cape Town) to show that a minority of residents preferred rodent control to be humane but that most did not care how rats are killed and almost a fifth said they would be ‘happy’ if the rats suffered. Agreeing that animal welfare is important and having become used to the presence of rats raised the probability of support for humane rodent control and decreased support for cruel rodent control. Being concerned that rats might be linked to witchcraft increased the probability of a pro-cruel stance. These results were robust to the inclusion of measures of rodent presence in the household and socio-economic status. This highlights the importance of values (notably concern about animal welfare) and cultural beliefs – in this case concerns that rodents might be linked to witchcraft – in predicting whether respondents are likely to have a pro-cruel stance on rodent control or not. Promoting the humane treatment of pest animals in this context thus requires engaging with local culture.

Publication Title Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
Volume 23
Issue 3
Pages 315-324
ISBN/ISSN 1088-8705
DOI 10.1080/10888705.2019.1666008
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Tags
  1. Animal welfare
  2. Cruelty