Measuring Attitudes About Animal Rights and Animal Research

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Measuring Attitudes About Animal Rights and Animal Research

Below are the 28 items which were used to measure attitudes towards animal experimentation and animal rights in the research which is presented in: Wuensch, K. L., Jenkins, K. W., & Poteat, G. M. (2002). Misanthropy, idealism, and attitudes towards animals. Anthrozoös, 15, 139-149.

The survey included numerous other items designed to measure other dimensions, including ethical ideology (Forsyth’s EPQ) and misanthropy. Most of the items (and all of these 28) used the 5-point Likert-type response scale indicated below (5-point to conform to the type of OPSCAN scoring sheets we employed).

An unrotated factor analysis on these 28 items indicated only one good factor on which all items loaded well. Item-total correlations were good, with Cronbach’s alpha being .91. Estimated lambda4 (which is a better estimate of reliability than is Cronbach’s alpha) was .93. In other words, these 28 items were internally consistent, all measuring the same basic construct. A rotated factor analysis did indicate that two subscale scores could be created, one containing items reflecting concern with the violation of animal rights by using animals for food, clothing, and fur, and the other containing items reflecting concern with animal research. In the research paper we used only the overall score, not the subscales.

Here are instructions for scoring this scale:

  • Numerically code the A,B,C,D,E response scale as 1,2,3,4,5. That is, the higher the number, the greater the agreement with the statement.

  • Reflect (reverse score) items 16, 19, 21, 24, and 28, since agreeing with these items indicates that the respondent was not a supporter of animal rights. This is most easily accomplished by subtracting the item score from 6 (that way, a 1 becomes a 5, a 2 becomes a 4, ....., a 5 becomes a 1).

  • If any respondents failed to answer some of the questions, then you have to consider how many unanswered questions it takes before you decide to discard that respondent from your study. With 28 items, I do not think it would be a problem keeping respondents who left 1 or 2 or even 3 items unanswered.

  • To obtain an overall score, simply compute, for each respondent, the average (mean) of the 28 items. Maintain at least two decimal point precision in these computations.

  • If you wish to compute subscale scores, here is how they break down: Use items 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 22, 23, 24, 26, & 28 for the first subscale, and items 2, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19 20, 21, 25, & 27 for the second subscale. I prefer to use just the overall score, not subscale scores.

Here are the questions with instructions and response scale:

This questionnaire was designed to measure your attitudes about a number of potentially related things. You will find a series of statements below. Each represents a commonly held opinion and there are no right or wrong answers. You will probably disagree with some items and agree with others. We are interested in the extent to which you agree or disagree with such matters of opinion. Please read each statement carefully and then indicate the extent of your disagreement/agreement with each item according to the following scale:






strongly disagree


no opinion


strongly agree

Please indicate your response by filling in the appropriate circle (A, B, C, D, or E) on the multiple choice answer sheet. Please use a number 2 pencil. Mark only one response for each item. Please do not mark the questionnaire itself  save a tree by returning the questionnaire unmarked so we can use it again. Do not put any identifying information (such as name or social security number) on your answer sheet  we want your responses to be confidential.

01. Humans have no right to displace wild animals by converting wilderness areas into farmlands, cities, and other things designed for people.

02. Animal research cannot be justified and should be stopped.

03. It is morally wrong to drink milk and eat eggs.

04. A human has no right to use a horse as a means of transportation (riding) or entertainment (racing).

05. It is wrong to wear leather jackets and pants.

06. Most medical research done on animals is unnecessary and invalid.

07. I have seriously considered becoming a vegetarian in an effort to save animal lives.

08. Pet owners are responsible for preventing their pets from killing other animals, such as cats killing mice or snakes eating live mice.

09. We need more regulations governing the use of animals in research.

10. It is morally wrong to eat beef and other "red" meat.

11. Insect pests (mosquitoes, cockroaches, flies, etc.) should be safely removed from the house rather than killed.

12. Animals should be granted the same rights as humans.

13. It is wrong to wear leather belts and shoes.

14. I would rather see humans die or suffer from disease than to see animals used in research.

15. Having extended basic rights to minorities and women, it is now time to extend them also to animals.

16. God put animals on Earth for man to use.

17. There are plenty of viable alternatives to the use of animals in biomedical and behavioral research.

18. Research on animals has little or no bearing on problems confronting people.

19. New surgical procedures and experimental drugs should be tested on animals before they are used on people.

20. I am very concerned about pain and suffering in animals.

21. Since many important questions cannot be answered by doing experiments on people, we are left with no alternatives but to do animal research.

22. It is a violation of an animal's rights to be held captive as a pet by a human.

23. It is wrong to wear animal fur (such as mink coats).

24. It is appropriate for humans to kill animals that destroy human property, for example, rats, mice, and pigeons.

25. Most cosmetics research done on animals is unnecessary and invalid.

26. It is morally wrong to eat chicken and fish.

27. Most psychological research done on animals is unnecessary and invalid.

28. Hunters play an important role in regulating the size of deer populations.

Wuensch’s Attitudes to Animals Page

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