Results of a national survey of US veterinary college faculty regarding attitudes toward farm animal welfare
Heleski, C.R.; Mertig, A.G.; Zanella, A.J.
Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 226(9): 1538-1546
ISSN/ISBN: 0003-1488 PMID: 15882007 DOI: 10.2460/javma.2005.226.1538
To examine attitudes toward farm animal welfare among veterinary college faculty. E-mail survey. 157 US veterinary college faculty with large animal or food animal emphasis. Veterinarians from 27 US veterinary colleges were contacted via e-mail and asked to complete a 7-page survey relating to farm animal welfare issues. Thirty-one percent of those contacted responded. 71% of respondents self-characterized their attitude toward farm animal welfare as "we can use animals for the greater human good but have an obligation to provide for the majority of the animals' physiologic and behavioral needs." An additional 19% of respondents were more concerned about animal welfare than was indicated by that statement, and 10% were less concerned about farm animal welfare than was indicated by that statement. Significant relationships among demographic variables and attitude scores were observed, including more concerned attitudes among females, those with more liberal political views, and those who cited lower religiosity. No relationship between attitude and age was observed. Veterinary college faculty have the opportunity to impact many stakeholders within the animal agriculture industries (eg, future veterinarians and policy makers looking for a veterinary science perspective). Results indicated that a considerable level of concern toward farm animal welfare is present in this population. Although the process of change may not be rapid, it is likely that the influence of these respondents will factor heavily into enhancing farm animal welfare.