"Animal Tracker," an AR Data Gaphing Tool

I think I'd forgotten to blog about this when it first came out. I remember staying up late at night trying all the options and being surprised by some of the results, talking to my husband about this or that bit of research data and showing him on the graph how different demographics compared to each other on various animal rights issues.

Well, I've finally remembered to share it here. Mark Middleton at Animal Visuals created a graphing tool for the Humane Research Council. The tool lets you visualize data from HRC's Animal Tracker Survey, which is a survey that measures public opinions about animal issues.

Take a look here: http://www.animalvisuals.org/data/animaltracker/

Reading Change of Heart

I am reading Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change by Nick Cooney. This book promises to change my activism. Here's part of the official book description:
"Scientific research has generated a wealth of information on how people can be persuaded to alter their behaviors, yet this body of knowledge has been largely ignored by those working to improve society. Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change brings this information to light so that non-profits, community organizers and others can make science-driven decisions in their advocacy work. The book examines over 80 years of empirical research in areas including social psychology, communication studies, diffusion studies, network systems and social marketing, distilling the highlights into easy-to-use advice and serving as a psychology primer for anyone wanting to spread progressive social change."

I expect that much of what I learn from this book will be useful to readers of this blog. Expect to see the review soon.

Is PETA Effective?

PETA is one of the most controversial organizations in existence. People love them, hate them, tolerate them, question them. If nothing else, PETA is effective at getting attention and inspiring debate.

Even in Animal Rights communities, this question comes up over and over again:

Does PETA help or harm the movement?

It’s a difficult question to answer since PETA does so much and is involved in all kinds of campaigns. Moreover, few people or organizations take the time to measure efficacy. But one organization, The Humane Research Council, whose website is Humane Spot dot org, compiles and analyzes all kinds of information relating to effective strategies of the animal movement.

In their own words,

The Humane Research Council empowers fellow animal advocates with access to the research, analysis, strategies, and messages that maximize their effectiveness to reduce animal suffering.

When it comes to PETA’s efficacy, The Humane Research Council has some information that can help us answer the question above. There are two studies that indicate PETA is effective, at least in some areas.

Take a look:

1. “The U.S. Pork Checkoff (managed by the National Pork Board) conducted four focus groups of children ages 9 to 14 throughout the United States and surveyed an additional 350 children online. More than half of those surveyed had heard of “animal rights” organizations and almost one fourth of these children reported that these organizations have impacted their meat consumption in some way. There was low awareness of PETA among the children, but it had a high impact on their meat consumption. One-third of respondents had heard of or visited the PETA website, petakids.com; of those who were familiar with PETA, one-third had seen a video about animal care or meat consumption. 53% said the web site/video impacted their meat eating habits.” (source)

2. “[Another] study examined the impact of a graphic animal rights campaign launched by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) against alleged abuses on a corporate farm. It considered the impact of the campaign upon the credibility of the target of the campaign as well as the producer of the campaign.
Results indicated that PETA’s attack message against abuses at corporate pig farms was effective in eroding the credibility of the corporate food-industry raising animals for consumption. At the same time, PETA’s credibility rose overall after participants viewed the PETA attack message.” (source)

(Emphasis added)

Neither of those studies indicates that the other PETA programs are effective. It’s even possible that certain campaigns are counter-productive. But the evidence against PETA – on the basis of ineffectiveness – simply doesn’t exist yet. So be wary of “experts” who claim that PETA “doesn’t work” or is “counter-productive.” They are likely basing their opinions on personal bias rather than actual science.


Originally posted at Vegan Soapbox.