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Ten Basic Attitudes Toward Animals*


So where do you fit? How much further do you have to go???? To Earth First! and Beyond!

The paradox of a presumably Eastern respect for nature against a record of contemporary environmental destruction prompted Stephen R. Kellert* to conduct a national study of attitudes toward nature and wildlife in Japan. A national investigation had already been conducted in the United States. Nearly 200 questions were included in the two surveys covering attitudes, knowledge, and behavior toward nature, mainly wildlife.

A typology of ten basic attitudes toward nature and wildlife is thought to reflect universal and fundamentsl values of the natural world.


  • Naturalistic: Primary interest and affection is for wildlife and the outdoors (e.g. a hunter/gatherer)
  • Ecologistic: Primary concern is for the environments as a system and the relationships between wildlife species and natural habitats (Earth First!)
  • Humanistic: Primary interest and strong affection for individual animals such as pets or large wild animals with strong anthropomorphic associations
  • Moralistic: Primary concern is for the right and wrong treatment of animals and strong opposition to overexploitation and cruelty toward animals
  • Scientistic: Primary interest is in the physical attributes and biological functioning of animals
  • Aesthetic: Primary interest is in the physical and symbolic appeal of animals
  • Utilitarian: Primary interest is in the practical value of animals or in the subordination of animals for the practical benefit of people
  • Dominionistic: Primary interest is in the mastery and control of animals
  • Negativistic: Primary orientation is an active avoidance of animals due to dislike or fear
  • Neutralistic: Primary orientation is a passive avoidance of animals due to indifference or lack of interest


Rank Order of Attitude Toward Nature in the United States and Japan

United States:

  1. Humanistic

  2. Moralistic

  3. Negativistic

  4. Utilitarian

  5. Ecologistic

  6. Naturalistic

  7. Dominionistic
Japan:

  1. Humanistic

  2. Negativistic

  3. Dominionistic

  4. Naturalistic

  5. Utilitarian

  6. Moralistic

  7. Ecologistic

* From Reinventing Nature? Responses to Postmodern Deconstruction, edited by Michael E. Soule and Gary Lease, Island Press, 1995, p. 108. "Concepts of Nature East and West" by Stephen R. Kellert, pp. 107-117.


Posted May 15, 2000