The vast majority of Spaniards believe that animals and humans deserve the same moral consideration
The tweeter @Kurioso asked his followers in the summer of 2018, but the results are still valid: «A child sneaks into your house and, by accident, causes a fire. Your dog is inside and you arrive just in time to save just one. Who are you saving?”. The result surprised many; to him, the first. 56.8% of the 70,950 people who responded would have saved the pet over the child who accidentally caused the fire in someone else’s house.
Humans and animals: similar species
Now, a study published by the BBVA Foundation confirms that animals are part of a universe close to human beings, both in biological terms and in terms of the sensitive and relational attributes that, according to them, they share and place them at the same level .
The vast majority of those surveyed – 2,000 people over the age of 18 in each of the two surveys – think that animals deserve moral consideration: the same as humans for 39%, or one halfway between people and plants for 27%. In addition, eight out of ten Spaniards consider that animals have a dignity that must be respected.
In a scenario such as Spain, where half of the population declares that they have animals at home, there is broad agreement among citizens that the rest of the species feel physical pain (8.7 out of 10) and pleasure (6.9). ) similar to humans, and in that their family ties (7.2) and social relationships (6.5) are similar between people and animals.
Following the preparation of this study, the authors have verified that animals occupy a central, material and symbolic space in the lives of human beings, ranging from agriculture and livestock to food, leisure or entertainment, passing through scientific and medical experimentation in addition to using them as companions at home, or to provide security and defense.
Divided on its use: yes to eat; not in shows
Despite the above, there is a certain consensus on the legitimacy of the use of animals for different activities, such as veterinary (7 out of 10), medical (6) and scientific (5.7) research, as well as food (6.1). But, on the other hand, the use of animals in shows such as bullfighting (1.9) or the circus (1.7) is widely rejected. They also do not approve of sport hunting (1.7) or that they are used in cosmetic product research (1.3).
Fully topical after the controversial statements by the Minister of Consumption, in the survey -with the data collected in November, before it was carried out- there is a general repudiation of a hypothetical scenario in which the production of meat and other foods could justify that the animals suffer from overcrowding (acceptance 3.1 on a scale of 10). This rejection – the study details – is shared by all social segments, although it is more pronounced among women, among those who have university studies and among those who are ideologically on the left (2.3 compared to 3.3 in the center and 4 on the right).
Investigate: yes, but depending on the species…
For more than half of the population, acceptance of the use of animals in research it depends on the type of animal in question (for 57%). 20% consider that it is never justified, while 18% think that it always would be. And while research with insects and rats is accepted (5.9), research involving chimpanzees (3.8), dolphins (3.2), dogs (3.3) and cats (3.8) is widely rejected. 4).
… and according to the end
The degree to which Spaniards tolerate the use of animals in research is different depending on the objective of the research. It is broader when it comes to advancing the knowledge of fatal or degenerative diseases in the animals themselves (6.8) and in humans (6.4) or in the development of vaccines (6.2). It is approved, although to a lesser extent, to test medicines (5.6) and it is rejected that they are used to analyze contamination (4.4) or treat minor illnesses (4.4).
Equal your right to life
54% of Spaniards believe that they should recognize the right to life of animals in a similar way to that of human beings, while 44% also consider that it should be recognized, albeit in a different way. In addition, there is a broad rejection of the so-called “speciesism”, which considers that no species has the right to exploit another. Perhaps for this reason, it is a “moral obligation” for everyone to look after animals, whether they are domestic or wild, or even mice and insects.
Against genetic modification
In general, the Spanish they do not accept that animals be genetically modified under no circumstances, although there is division if this purpose is medical (4,6). Disapproval is universal when it comes to improving food production (2.6), its properties (2.3) or to improve its appearance (0.8).
Refering to cloning, this is accepted in the case that an animal species is threatened (6,6), but it is disapproved if with this procedure what is sought are medical benefits for human beings (4,3). The rejection is almost unanimous if what is sought is to obtain benefits for livestock (2.8).
The thuman gene transfer to animals for xenotransplantation and to produce replacement organs divides the Spanish, although disapproval predominates (4,4). The survey took place before the successful transplant of the heart from a genetically modified pig.