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dc.contributor.authorMuldoon, Janine Claire
dc.contributor.authorWilliams, Joanne M
dc.contributor.authorLawrence, Alistair
dc.identifier.citationMuldoon , J C , Williams , J M & Lawrence , A 2016 , ' Exploring children’s perspectives on the welfare needs of pet animals ' Anthrozoös , vol. 29 , no. 3 , pp. 357-375 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 244956319
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: 96141c8b-ba0b-45b3-8dd4-4b98408ce6b2
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 84983033942
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000384940900001
dc.descriptionThis work was supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (grant number AW1404).en
dc.description.abstractChildren are increasingly viewed as important recipients of eduational interventions to improve animal welfare, yet research examining their perspectives is lacking, particularly within the UK. Helping children to care appropriately for animals depends, not least, on an ability to understand the needs of different species and correctly identify cues given by the animal that indicate its welfare state. This study began to explore: (a) children’s perceptions of welfare needs, focusing on four common pet animals; (b) influences on the development of knowledge; (c) beliefs about whether or not (all) animals are sentient, and (d) their confidence in identifying when their own pets are in need. Fourteen focus groups were carried out with 53 children aged 7 to 13 years. Findings highlighted an affirmative response that animals have feelings (dogs especially), albeit with doubts about this applying universally. There was wide variation in children’s knowledge of welfare needs, even among owners of the animal in question. Conversely, some children lacked confidence in spite of the extensive knowledge they had developed through direct experience. An important finding was a perceived difficulty in identifying the needs of particular species or specific types of need in their own pets. Fitting well with a recent emphasis on “positive welfare,” children felt that many animals need demonstrative love and attention, especially cats and dogs. While there is clearly scope for educating children about common needs and cues that indicate animals’ welfare state, other areas pose a greater challenge. Emotional connection seems important in the development of extensive knowledge and concern for welfare. Accordingly, animals that do not possess the kind of behavioral repertoire that is easy to interpret or allows for a perceived sense of reciprocity are possibly at risk of negative welfare experiences.
dc.rights© 2016, ISAZ. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at /
dc.subjectAnimal welfareen
dc.subjectL Educationen
dc.subjectRJ Pediatricsen
dc.titleExploring children’s perspectives on the welfare needs of pet animalsen
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.School of Medicineen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews.Child and Adolescent Health Research Uniten
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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