Nonhuman animal studies scholars have extensively investigated attitudes on animal welfare in general and farm animal welfare in particular. Thus far, this research has focused mainly on public opinion, but there has been minimal research seeking to explain the influences on actual policymakers when they vote on farm animal welfare legislation. This paper contributes to this literature by quantitatively analyzing 216 state legislators’ votes on two farm animal welfare bills. It hypothesizes that the representatives’ personal and representational connections with agriculture best explain their votes on these farm animal protection bills. This research also includes three control variables: each legislator’s gender, race/ethnicity, and political party. Logistic regression revealed that the legislators’ personal and representational connections with agriculture are significant, but political party is the strongest independent variable explaining state legislators’ farm animal welfare votes. An interaction model revealed mixed evidence that political party moderates the influence of agriculture.
Since the 1970s, animal advocacy groups have attempted to improve the treatment of non-human animals by influencing public opinion and lobbying for legislation that protects animals. Empirical assessments of these efforts have reported mixed results. Animal advocacy groups also use litigation as a means of improving the treatment of nonhuman animals, but there has been limited empirical testing of the effectiveness of animal advocacy litigation. To fill this gap in the literature, this study examines the 188 animal law cases decided in state supreme courts from 1973 through 2005. It looks specifically at whether the participation of an animal advocacy organization increases the chance of a favorable decision, while controlling for legal and political influences on case outcomes. Logistic regression reveals that the presence of animal advocacy groups does not exert a statistically significant impact on case outcomes. Further analysis demonstrates, however, that animal advocacy groups are significantly more likely than nongroup litigators to pursue cases that are difficult to win.
To conduct their work, Human-Animal Studies scholars, practitioners, and activists need to understand how different nations treat animals. Although extant cross-national measures of the treatment of animals are helpful, they are quantitatively unsophisticated, narrow in focus, and nontransparent. This paper offers a sounder methodology for measuring how nations treat animals. Using polychoric factor analysis of nine indicators that capture the treatment of animals in 154 nations, this study creates three new Treatment-of-Animals measures: Political-Commitment, Animal-Use, and a Composite-Score (the average between the previous two measures). A construct validity test demonstrates that all three measures are valid. The study then reports how different nations and regions fare on each measure and discusses important trends that these outcomes reveal. The paper concludes by explaining how scholars, practitioners, and activists will benefit from these new Treatment-of-Animals variables, and it confronts some limitations with these measures.