Animal Writes
From 19 December 2004 Issue

Empathy Research

We are conducting a series of studies which look at links between attitudes to animals and attitudes to people. This started because we thought there might be a link between empathy levels and attitudes to animals. The data we have gathered so far (in a student population and in a community sample) supports this. We therefore wanted to see if there was anything significantly different within those working for animal protection. The idea behind this is that if people who have favourable attitudes to animals do have better levels of empathy (which seems to be the case) then we can start to address how empathy levels in those with problematic and/or violent behaviour towards both animals and humans can be addressed. One of the potential ways is through humane education which has been shown to increase empathy levels and has the added benefit of informing people about animal welfare issues.

We therefore need members of the animal protection community (in whatever capacity) to complete and return a very short questionnaire. Please consider contributing to this project by emailing [email protected]  and requesting the questionnaire. We will then send you a copy as an attachment which you can complete electronically and return to the above email.

Additionally please feel free to forward this information to anyone who works within animal protection who may also be interested in taking part.

Participation in this research is voluntary, if at any point you wish to withdraw from this research you may do so. If you decide, after completing the questionnaire and submitting it that you no longer want to have your answers included in the research please contact the principal researchers and your questionnaire will be removed and destroyed with no questions asked. The researchers may use the data generated from the questionnaire to publish at least one refereed journal article looking at relations between human empathy levels and attitudes towards animals. If you do not feel comfortable with this you may withdraw from the research.

Thank you for your time. Please return all completed questionnaire by January 31st 2005.

If you have any queries please contact the project researcher at the above email address or as below.

Project Researcher:

Nik Taylor
Lecturer in Sociology
Central Queensland University
Queensland 4702
[email protected] 

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