PsyCh Journal

Moral decision‐making in pettism: The influence of animal type, pet ownership status, and social distance

Publication Date Sep 19, 2022


Speciesism prioritizes humans over animals and pets. Nevertheless, pet owners have a strong attachment bond with their pets, which makes their hierarchical view of pets less clear. Aiming to examine this issue, we present a dilemma involving animals and humans that allowed us to investigate whether animal type, social distance, and pet ownership status can affect moral decision-making related to pets. Save-willingness results showed that in the moral dilemmas of pets versus livestock versus wild animals (Studies 1a and 2a) and their own pets versus strangers (Studies 1b and 2b), pet owners prioritize pets whereas non-owners prioritize pets (Studies 1a and 2a) and strangers (Studies 1b and 2b). Pet owners prefer to save pets more than do non-owners (Study 1a), and this effect was only observed in females (Study 2a). Save-decision results showed that in the moral dilemmas of pets versus livestock versus wild animals (Study 2a), pet owners prioritize pets whereas in the dilemmas of pets versus strangers (Study 2b), pet owners prioritize strangers. The same result was found in non-owners. Pet owners prefer more than do non-owners to save pets (Study 2). Overall, the separation of save-willingness and save-decision results revealed that pet owners show special speciesism (i.e., pettism).


Studies 1a Studies 1b Pet Ownership Status Pet Owners Social Distance Animal Pet Strong Bond Animals Studies Attachment Bond Hierarchical View

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No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors. The conception and design of the study, acquisition of data, analysis and interpretatio...

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