Une enquête sur les nouvelles sensibilités à l'égard des animaux domestiques

Jacqueline MILLIET, Jean-Pierre DIGARD & Anne-Chantal MEZGER

fr Anthropozoologica 10 - Pages 31-47

Published on 01 June 1989

A survey of changing attitudes towards domestic animals

Abstract : A questionnaire was administered to visitors during the exhibition "Des animaux et des hommes" held in the Musée d'ethnographie de Neuchâtel (Switzerland), from May 1987 to January 1988. The answers confirm the spread of new attitudes towards domestic animals in Western European culture. Three dominant features emerge from the findings : 1) the hierarchy of preferences is no longer based on the criterion of utility but on that of closeness to men and so pets are in a privileged position : cat and dog come first, followed by horse; 2) cruelty to animals is condemned by everybody but some practices which are considered useful, such as scientific experiments and battery rearing, are not included in this condemnation; 3) the new ideal of commensality with animals is comprehensive and since it involves ail animal life it results in a blurring of dividing line between such categories as domestic and wild or even human and animal.


Ethnographical Survey, Sociological Evolution, Pets, Domestic Animals, Occidental Europe.

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