Humans objectify or designate certain animals to specific roles. These roles are often learned in childhood and followed into adulthood. Though there is more literature on the nonhuman animal industries nowadays than ever, there are still gaps in knowledge and work to be done concerning childhood speciesism. This qualitative study aims to reveal how childhood perspectives toward nonhuman animals are established. The study's findings indicate speciesism may develop in early age children due to parental and environmental influences. Parents were found to influence speciesism in children through teaching the distinct roles animals play in our society. As adults, parents were aware of the health, environmental, and ethical issues regarding animal and animal products, yet encouraged their children's consumption of animals or animal products. Parents were found to use euphemisms, or indirect language, to intentionally shield their children from understanding farm animals as food. However, parents were also found to be open-minded and willing to accommodate a vegan/vegetarian diet upon their child's request. The study introduced the idea of children favoring animals to which they could relate. The findings also revealed that children respond negatively to animals used as educational tools, such as animals in zoological facilities, household pets, and classroom pets. This paper explores the development of the child-animal paradox: speciesism in childhood.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
College of Sciences
Knotts, Hannah C., "Speciesism in Childhood: An Exploration of Children's Attitudes Toward Nonhuman Animals" (2023). Honors Undergraduate Theses. 1372.