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Exploring Attitudes toward Animal Welfare through the Lens of Subjectivity—An Application of Q-Methodology

Department of Veterinary Medical Sciences, University of Bologna, 40064 Ozzano dell’Emilia (Bo), Italy
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Animals 2020, 10(8), 1364; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081364
Received: 16 June 2020 / Revised: 31 July 2020 / Accepted: 2 August 2020 / Published: 6 August 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Welfare)
In this paper, we offer a methodological solution to the policymaker to improve the structure of the surveys used for public consultations. Over the years, we noticed the importance of opinions in legislative processes, particularly in animal welfare. The issue, to which European citizens have historically been sensitive, has been the target of multiple consultations aimed at considering perceptions about farming conditions. However, standard surveys suffer from bias and design errors. To overcome these problems, we propose the use of Q-methodology to understand the opinions of veterinary students. The results contribute to the improvement of traditional surveys used to understand what people think about animal welfare and could be useful in providing information to the policy making process.
Opinions increasingly influence legislative processes. The case of animal welfare (AW) standards is a clear example of the role played by opinions in political decisions. The issue, to which European citizens have historically been sensitive, has been the subject of numerous consultations and investigations, aimed at considering citizens’ opinions regarding breeding conditions. However, these tools and in particular standard surveys, suffer from response biases such as the prejudices involved in the design of questions and the interpretation of the results. To mitigate these problems, we used the Q-methodology, which is an inductive but systematic methodology focused on patterns that explain the ideas of individuals. The purposive sample consisted of 36 veterinary students who were acquiring scientific knowledge about AW. The results, in addition to providing policymakers with food for thought for the further development of AW standards, contribute to testing the use of alternative methodologies to collect citizens’ views. This mapping of viewpoints helps to build a more effective form of AW policy making. View Full-Text
Keywords: animal welfare; opinions; Q-methodology; policymaking; discourses animal welfare; opinions; Q-methodology; policymaking; discourses
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MDPI and ACS Style

Vecchio, Y.; Pauselli, G.; Adinolfi, F. Exploring Attitudes toward Animal Welfare through the Lens of Subjectivity—An Application of Q-Methodology. Animals 2020, 10, 1364. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081364

AMA Style

Vecchio Y, Pauselli G, Adinolfi F. Exploring Attitudes toward Animal Welfare through the Lens of Subjectivity—An Application of Q-Methodology. Animals. 2020; 10(8):1364. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081364

Chicago/Turabian Style

Vecchio, Yari, Gregorio Pauselli, and Felice Adinolfi. 2020. "Exploring Attitudes toward Animal Welfare through the Lens of Subjectivity—An Application of Q-Methodology" Animals 10, no. 8: 1364. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10081364

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