In 2018, the nation’s fish and wildlife agencies in conjunction with their own polling agency and a couple of universities conducted a national survey of public attitudes regarding a variety of wildlife management issues and values. Nearly 44,000 citizens were queried as to their preferences.
The respondents were grouped into four categories: Traditionalist, Mutualist, Pluralist and Indifferent. Traditionalists regard wildlife as a commodity or product to be “harvested”; Mutualists advocate treating wildlife with respect and tolerance; Pluralists are a combination of those two categories; Indifferents had little interest in the topic.
Among the topics explored in the survey, anthropomorphism (the attribution of human characteristics to non-human species) drew interesting responses. Mutualists and Pluralists were nearly identical in their views (shown below as a combined average of the two categories).
- Do animals have Free Will? 66% agreed.
- Do animals have Intentions? 70% agreed.
- Do animals have Consciousness? 75% agreed.
- Do animals have Minds of Their Own? 85% agreed
- Do animals have Emotions? 85% agreed
(Traditionalists scored much lower on all items.)