Attitudes towards the use of Animals of Students enrolled in Animal Welfare and Laboratory Science courses in The Netherlands.
Weijden, J.A. van der
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For the last decades a change in our moral attitude towards animals can be seen. Animal welfare is getting an important role in the Dutch society, but in general people are getting more concerned about how animals are treated. In this study, students from three different master courses about animal welfare, animal ethics and the use of laboratory animals at Utrecht University completed a questionnaire on attitudes towards different categories of animals before and after attending a course. Higher attitude scores suggest that students are more concerned about how an animal is being treated. Statistics were done with significance set at p<0.05. Attitudes towards Pets (85.5%) were significant higher than those towards Pest, Profit and Laboratory animals (73.7% vs. 60.9% and 59.2%, respectively) and almost comparable attitude scores on the Profit and Laboratory animal subscales were found. Gender difference in attitudes existed in one course with veterinary students only, in which females scored higher. Students that were vegetarian scored significantly higher on the Profit, Pest and Laboratory subscale. Owning a pet or prior pet ownership as a child did not affect the attitudes score in comparison to students that never owned a pet. Dutch students compared to other European students scored significant lower on the Pets subscale and no difference was found in attitude scores between students that were brought up in a city or a village. Finally, the used method in this study did not measure any difference post-course. The attitude scores did not demonstrate a significant increase or decrease after attending any of the three courses.