Impact of Ethical Ideologies on Students' Attitude toward Animals-A Pakistani Perspective

A. Khalid*, P. Martens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Simple Summary Ethical ideologies can have a strong impact on the moral decision making of students. They may also impact their reasoning regarding different social concerns including animal welfare. There are two types of ethical ideologies, including idealistic ideology (a view that universal principles exist which can be followed while making moral decisions) and relativistic ideology (a view that ethical decision making varies from situation to situation). For students, future decision making and concern for animal welfare can be influenced by their ethical perspectives, and to promote a positive change, it is imperative to promote understanding and awareness while students are still in the current educational structure. Hence, the research study explored the relationship between ethical ideologies (idealism and relativism), attitude toward animals and concern for animal welfare among students. Results showed that both relativistic and idealistic ideologies were associated with positive attitude towards animals as well as concern for animal welfare. Hence, the present study highlighted the importance of considering ethical ideologies (idealism and relativism) of students regarding attitude toward wellbeing of animals and possible influence on future decision-making processes when it came to animal welfare. Idealism and relativism are components of ethical ideologies which have been explored in relation to animal welfare and attitudes, and potential cultural differences. The present study investigated how ethical ideologies influenced attitude toward animals among undergraduate students. With the help of stratified random sampling, 450 participants were selected from both private and public sector universities in Pakistan. Research instruments consisted of a demographic sheet, the Ethics Position Questionnaire (EPQ), the Animal Attitude Scale-10-Item Version (AAS-10), and Animal Issue Scale (AIS). The study hypotheses were explored by employing various statistical analyses like Pearson Product Moment Correlation, independent sample t-test, ANOVA, and linear regression. Results revealed that there was a significant positive relationship between ethical ideologies (idealism and relativism) and attitude toward animals in students. Results further showed that students who consumed meat less frequently scored higher on relativism as compared to those who consumed meat more frequently (however, the effect size was small). It was also found that senior students held more idealistic ideologies as compared to freshman students. Finally, idealism positively predicted concern for animal welfare among students. The current study shed light on how ethical ideologies can shape and influence animal welfare. It further highlighted the potential cultural differences for the study variables by allowing for comparison with other published studies. By understanding these dynamics better, researchers will be better equipped to help students become informed citizens that may also influence future decision-making processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number927
Number of pages12
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • ethical ideologies
  • attitude toward animals
  • animal welfare
  • cultural differences
  • undergraduate students

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