Americans' moral opposition to animal testing has grown significantly since 2001, according to a new study presented at the annual meeting of the prestigious American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Chicago.
Researchers from PETA and Western Governors University examined data collected in independent surveys by the Gallup organization from 2001 to 2013, in which approximately 1,000 American adults each year were asked whether they found "medical testing on animals" to be "morally acceptable" or "morally wrong."
The researchers found the following significant results:
- In 2013, 41 percent of adults overall found medical testing on animals to be morally wrong, a small increase since 2012 and a 12 percent increase since 2001.
- Among adults ages 18 to 29, opposition to medical testing on animals was 54 percent in 2013, an increase of 23 percent since 2001. Opposition increased slightly among older adults since 2012 - about one-third of adults 30 and over oppose animal testing. The data illustrate a growing generation gap in attitudes about this issue.
- A majority of women - 52 percent - also found medical testing on animals to be morally wrong, an increase of 9 percent from 2012 and 16 percent since 2001. Thirty percent of males opposed animal testing in 2013.
- Opposition to animal testing rose significantly among all political affiliations since 2001.
"Opposition to animal testing is steadily rising among people of every gender, age group, and political affiliation, likely because people have more exposure than ever to information about the cruelty that animals endure in laboratories, how animal testing rarely helps humans, and the superior alternatives available," says study co-author Justin Goodman, a director at PETA and an adjunct instructor of sociology at Marymount University in Arlington, Va. "Now, the country's laws and policies governing animal experimentation and its research funding practices need to evolve to meet public expectations as well."
Data in this study were weighted to ensure that they were nationally representative.