How Ethical Ideologies Relate to Public Attitudes toward Animals: The Dutch Case

Bingtao Su, Pim Martens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Ethical ideologies, which include dimensions of idealism and relativism, are often involved in the process of decision-making regarding operational and economic research. However, the study of the role of ethical ideologies concerning public attitudes toward animals has been largely neglected. The present study analyzed how ethical ideologies and their interaction with human demographics relate to public attitudes toward animals in the Netherlands. The Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ) was used to assess respondents' ethical ideologies and their relationship with attitudes toward animals, which were measured by the Animal Issue Scale (AIS) and the Animal Attitude Scale (AAS). The results demonstrated that respondents' gender and age were both significantly associated with attitudes toward animals, although gender showed a stronger correlation than age. Absolutists and situationists tended to show greater concern for animals than did exceptionists and subjectivists. Public attitudes toward animals were found to be significantly related to idealism; this confirms previous findings in the United States and China. Consistent with some previous findings in the United States, no significant correlation between relativism and public attitudes toward animals was found among Dutch respondents. However, this finding is inconsistent with findings in China indicating that relativism was negatively related to people's attitudes toward animals. Our study indicates that the correlation between idealism and attitudes toward animals is the same in different countries, while the correlation between relativism and attitudes toward animals differs between developed and developing countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-194
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • animals
  • attitudes
  • demographics
  • human-animal interaction
  • idealism
  • relativism


Dive into the research topics of 'How Ethical Ideologies Relate to Public Attitudes toward Animals: The Dutch Case'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this