The National Council for Animal Protection (NCAP) and the Humane Research Council (HRC) partnered in the spring of 2014 to conduct an opinion poll of the American public towards the animal protection cause and animal protection advocates. The results, which indicate a significantly positive shift in how Americans see the animal protection movement and its goals, were presented to NCAP members at the organization’s annual Summit for the Animals meeting on June 27 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
The survey replicated a similar poll conducted by the NCAP and HRC in 2005, allowing for analysis of significant trends in opinions towards animal protection over time. Data for both polls were collected by Survey Sampling International, which surveyed a representative online sample of 1,000 adults in the United States.
The results of the 2014 poll were striking. Of six major charitable causes listed, animal protection emerged as the cause most favorable to Americans, garnering support from 85 percent of Americans, up from 71 percent in 2005. Also significant is that those who have “a great deal of respect” for animal protection organizations and activists more than doubled over the time period, jumping from just a quarter of the United States adult population in 2005 to more than half of that population in 2014. Seventy-four percent of respondents agreed with the statement that “humans have an obligation never to harm animals,” and 79 percent agreed that “animals should be protected from all suffering and harm caused by humans.” These percentages reflect an increase from the 2005 poll results of 56 and 64 percent, respectively.
In addition, the NCAP/HRC poll examined personal behavior changes related to animals and found that the number of people who have adopted a companion animal from a shelter and those who have chosen to reduce their consumption of meat and dairy products have both increased significantly since 2005. However, behavioral changes showed a slower rate of increase than attitudinal changes towards the movement, indicating that actual behavior is lagging behind professed attitudes. Read the full press release here.
About the 2005 Survey
In 2005, the National Council for Animal Protection (NCAP) partnered with the Humane Research Council (HRC) to conduct a comprehensive survey of public opinions regarding the animal protection movement and animal advocates. The survey reached a representative sample of over 3,000 United States adults and included a second phase of qualitative research involving focus groups and interviews. Beyond gaining insight into how the American public views the animal protection movement, this research had the benefit of allowing segmentation of different geographic and demographic groups by their support for animal protection and advocacy.
The 2005 survey also provided a baseline estimate of public opinion that can be used to compare to subsequent surveys and thus track changes in opinion over time. With this in mind, the NCAP and HRC are again partnering to conduct an opinion poll with the goal of determining if and how public opinion towards the animal protection movement has changed over the last nine years.
The 2005 survey was extremely well received by NCAP members. Members of the NCAP have not only exclusive access to survey data, but the opportunity to add their own questions to the survey. Members enjoy other benefits as well.