Gender differences in attitudes toward animal research

Ethics and Behavior 6 (3):239 – 256 (1996)


Although gender differences in attitudes toward animal research have been reported in the literature for some time, exploration into the nature of these differences has received less attention. This article examines gender differences in responses to a survey of attitudes toward the use of animals in research. The survey was completed by college students and consisted of items intended to tap different issues related to the animal research debate. Results indicated that women were more likely than men to support tenets of the animal protection movement. Likewise, women were more likely than men to favor increased restrictions on animal use and were more concerned than men about the suffering of research animals. Analysis of item contents suggested that women endorsed items reflecting a general caring for animals, were more willing than men to make personal sacrifices such as giving up meat and medical benefits in an effort to protect animals, and were more likely than men to question the use of animals in research on scientific grounds. Men, on the other hand, tended to emphasize the potential benefits arising from the use of animals in research.

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