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Animal rights activists' representations of animals and animal rights: an exploratory study

By M. Pivetti

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During the last 30 years, supporters of the animal rights movement have questioned the use of animals for human benefit and have campaigned for improvements in their welfare. In the present study, activists' representations of animals and animal rights were investigated by interviewing 23 participants (from three animal welfare and animal rights organizations) during four focus-group discussions. Results revealed that the activists' representations were generated from the love/pain theme, which on one hand showed the compassion and love the activists have for animals, and on the other hand the suffering that animals can endure. Moreover, differences were found in this study in the way that members of the three animal welfare and rights organizations constructed their views of animals. While members of two out of the three organizations aimed to protect abandoned animals, members of the Anti-Vivisection League faced the contradictions within the human-animal relationship and endorsed a more coherent approach to animals. These findings are interpreted in light of previous studies conducted on the animal rights movement and of recent developments in social representation theory.

Date 2005
Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 18
Issue 2
Pages 140-159
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
Author Address Department of Social Psychology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki,
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Activism
  2. Animal activism
  3. Animal rights
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Developed countries
  6. Europe
  7. Finland
  8. Livestock
  9. Meat animals
  10. OECD countries
  11. peer-reviewed
  12. Pets and companion animals
  13. Scandinavia
  14. Wild animals
  1. peer-reviewed