Wide consensus exist that human attitudes and behavior toward pets must be examined in order to develop and enhance the relationship between owners and their pets. This need arose from the different perception of people in what they consider to be appropriate treatment of non-human animals. Some individuals believe that practices such as sport hunting, the consumption of animal flesh, and the use of non-human species in biomedical and psychological research are unjustified and cruel; in some cases, the very thought of these activities results in emotional distress. For others, these practices pose no particular moral problem and prompt no visceral revulsion.
The popularity and commonness of owning a pet had been attributed to several factors such as the health benefits derived from the pet in cases such as cardiovascular disease, stress, cancer and as a psychotherapy tool (Herrald, Tomaka, and Medina 2000; Headey, 1999) and the personality development and satisfaction provided by the pet (Beck and Karcher 1996).
Social scientists have only recently begun to explore the origins of attitudes towards non-human animals. There is a small but growing body of literature devoted to factors related to these attitudes. Variables known to influence individual differences in attitudes toward animals include gender (Driscoll, 1992; Hills, 1993); demographic variables such as educational level, geographic region, age, and race (Kellert, 1988); early experience with pets (Paul & Serpell, 1995); beliefs about animal mentality; and religious affiliation (Bowd & Bowd, 1989). However there is little information about the relationship between fundamental personality traits and beliefs about the ethical treatment of other species.
The purpose of this report is to determine the factors influencing the bonding between pet owners and their pets, the intervening variables in the bonding process and the strength of such attachment. The results that will be... [continues]
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