Friday, November 26, 2010

Do men care less about animals than women?


Once, a few years ago, I was handing out leaflets describing the cruelty inflicted on caged hens. Passers-by on the busy downtown sidewalk would sometimes just avoid eye contact and walk on by, but quite a few would take a leaflet and some, mostly women over 30, would express an interest in the issue.

One pedestrian, a middle-aged male, took a leaflet and started to read as he walked. Then he stopped dead in his tracks, turned around, handed me back the leaflet and said: “You’ve got to be kidding” and strode angrily away.

Such a reaction is not untypical for that demographic, according to colleagues working in animal advocacy. Anecdotal evidence suggests men are a harder sell when it comes to promoting awareness of animal welfare issues. Until recently, I never gave it much thought because, well, it just seemed natural. Thinking back, I just couldn’t recall ‘being kind to animals’ as a popular topic of conversation among guys in school locker rooms, on camping trips or in bars.

Research appears to confirm the perception that men do seem to care less about animal welfare than women do. A recent Angus Reid public opinion survey suggests that on a wide range of animal issues, men are less likely than women to be sympathetic to animals. For example, male respondents were more likely than female respondents to agree that governments were doing enough or too much to protect farm, laboratory and wild animals. Males were also more likely to support killing animals for fur, using animals in entertainment and killing animals for sport..." More

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