Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Sociology and Anthropology


The "animal welfare movement" has been gaining impetus recently in Western Europe and the U.S. Concern about the moral status and treatment of animals in research laboratories and on confinement farms has brought increasing public activism, a burgeoning of animal welfare organizations, and legislative deliberations. Yet sociologists have failed to place the movement on their research agenda. Despite sociological relevance from a social movement perspective, the potential for farm animal welfare legislation that will impact the livestock industry lends the phenomenon special important for rural sociology;This study provides data on the status of the farm animal welfare issue in Iowa. Mail survey data were collected in 1985 from representative samples of rural and urban Iowans. Participants in the study included 536 farm residents, 221 open-country nonfarm residents, and 324 city residents. Factors hypothesized to be important determinants of support for farm animal welfare legislation were age, education, gender, residence, environmentalism, moral orientation toward animals, perception of a farm animal welfare problem, and support for the animal welfare movement. These arguements were tested using a linear structural relationship (LISREL) model, with multiple indicators of the key variables;Residence was found to be an important predictor of farm animal welfare attitudes, while age, education and gender contributed relatively little to this explanation. Urban residence was associated with a moral orientation toward animals, perception of a farm animal welfare problem, and support for farm animal welfare legislation. The next highest levels on these attitudinal dimensions were from open-country nonfarm respondents. Farm residents collectively displayed the most conservative stance toward the animal welfare issues. These findings of residential differences suggest the potential for considerable public turmoil along residential lines, in Iowa and elsewhere, over farm animal welfare issues.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Judith Ann Linneman



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

266 pages

Included in

Sociology Commons