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Attitudes towards animals among Spanish primary school children

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)797-812
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2019


Adult attitudes toward animals have received extensive research attention. By contrast, despite the importance of child-animal interactions for children’s development and animal welfare, children’s attitudes toward animals have not been fully explored. The aim of this study was to examine Spanish children’s attitudes toward animals. A twelve-item scale named the 'Brief Attitudes Towards Animals scale for Children (BATAC) was designed and completed by 416 Spanish primary school children aged between 6 and 13 years. Analyses revealed that the attitude scale had very good internal consistency (Cronbach's α = 0.75; Revelle's omega = 0.75; Sijtsma's glb = 0.84) and three factors, referred to here as ‘compassion’, ‘friendship’ and ‘opinion on ownership’, explained 56.47% of the variance. The sub-scales were used in subsequent analyses alongside the total score. Demographic variables such as age, school year group, ownership of a companion animal, and children's beliefs about animal mind were shown to be associated with children's attitudes toward animals. Being older, being in a higher school year, having a dog or a small mammal at home, and scoring animals higher on sentience capabilities were associated with higher pro-animal attitudes. Other pet types (i.e. cats, birds, reptiles or fish) and children's gender were not associated with attitudes to animals. This study is the first to explore attitudes toward animals among Spanish primary school children, and it highlights attitudinal differences regarding animal species and child demographic variables.

    Research areas

  • attitudes toward animals, beliefs in animal mind, children, companion animals, human animal bond, Spanish children

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