The Australian Alliance for Animals recently commissioned the research institute, BehaviourWorks Australia, to conduct a nationally representative survey exploring Australian attitudes and beliefs about animals and the way policy decisions that affect them are made.
The data was obtained between February and March 2023 with an online Qualtrics survey of 1,029 Australian adults, representative of the broader Australian population by age, gender, state or territory, and location (metro vs. regional).
The study shows that 90% of Australians believe dogs are sentient beings but surprisingly fewer (87%) believe that cats are also. Regarding other mammals, 82% believe cows are sentient, 80% believe sheeps and pigs are, 81% believe birds are, 62% lizards, 61% octopuses, 61% frogs, 57% fishes and 54% lobsters. A minority of Australians believe that insects are sentient, only 39%.
The study also shows that 86% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the idea that the law should require that all sentient animals are provided with good animal welfare. Most Australians (80%) think the impact on animals should be the most important factor in government policy decisions that affect animal welfare. The next most important factor is scientific knowledge and evidence (66%). Over half of Australians (57%) think the impact on industries or businesses should matter the least. According to the study, Most Australians (58%) think that decision-makers should consider animal suffering and give it equal weight (46%), or more weight (12%), than human suffering when making decisions that affect animal welfare.
The Australian Alliance for Animals consists of six of Australia’s leading animal protection organizations, The reform platform proposes a new framework for creating a modern and contemporary animal welfare governance system that is currently endorsed by 26 local and international animal protection groups.