Animal-Ethical Intuitions in Germany: Developing a Measuring Instrument to Capture Domain-Specific Values in the Context of the Human-Animal Relationship

Sarah Hölker, Holmer Steinfath, Marie von Meyer-Höfer, Achim Spiller

Published: 01.12.2019  〉 Volume 68 (2019), Number 4, 299-315  〉 Resort: Articles 
Submitted: N. A.   〉 Feedback to authors after first review: N. A.   〉 Accepted: N. A.


In the recent past, society has increasingly questioned the way animals are treated, especially so-called farm animals. Such ethical values, dealing with the morally correct treatment of animals, affect human behaviour. Therefore, it is of great importance for the agricultural sector in particular to gain a deeper understanding of animal-ethical values in society in order to meet the changing demands. Since such animal-ethical values cover the thematic complex of the human-animal relationship in a very general way and mirror fundamental values, they can be classified in the human value system at the level of domain-specific values. Domain-specific values are characterized by the fact that they are relatively stable over time and are to a certain extent generalizable. The aim of the present study is to develop reliable and valid scales to capture domain-specific values in the context of the human-animal relationship. This is based on core statements of central animal-ethical positions from philosophy. A confirmatory factor analysis reveals that animal-ethical values can be identified in society and that the developed scales are of good reliability and validity. Furthermore, the descriptive results provide a first overview of which animal-ethical values are represented in the German population. Thus, the original anthropocentrism, allowing humans to treat animals as they want, is almost completely rejected. The new contractarian approach (“New Deal”), however, receives an extremely high level of approval. This animal-ethical position in principle allows humans to use animals, but, in exchange, they have to enable them to live a good life.

Universität Göttingen Department für Agrarökonomie und Rurale Entwicklung
Lehrstuhl Marketing für Lebensmittel und Agrarprodukte
Platz der Göttinger Sieben 5,37073 Göttingen
Download Cover