The link between meat-free diets and sharing the duration of childhood with companion animals has been identified in a new study, conducted by two professors of psychology at the University of Albany.
In the study, they write: “Plant based and vegetarian diets have been shown to have diverse health and environmental benefits and also serve to reduce farmed animal exploitation. It is therefore worthwhile to gain a better understanding of the factors that play a role in the decision to refrain from animal products.
The study touches on information gathered by previous research that suggests this, and they tested the hypothesis that the number of different companion animals experienced during childhood is “positively associated with degree of restriction of animal products in adulthood, and that this relationship is mediated by pro-animal attitudes.”
They used a focus group of 325 participants who reported on their dietary status, completed the Animal Advocacy Scale and Child Pet Ownership Questionnaire. They found that the number of different is positively correlated with their hypothesis, and that the more companion animals experienced does impact the dietary choices later in life.
In the report they write: “Findings support the hypothesis that individuals who owned a greater variety of [companion animals] in childhood endorse more concerns regarding animal use.
“This, in turn appears to predict the decision to refrain from animal products in adulthood. The possibility that an enhanced ability to generalise companion to laboratory, farm and wildlife animals underlies this relationship should be examined in future research.”
For many who lead meat-free and animal-free diets, the relationship between companion animals and the consumption of animal products has already been established, and confronted with those making the conscious decision to remove those items from their diets and lifestyles. However, this study has the potential to impact and disrupt the connections that people make between different animals and their place in society.
Did your childhood experiences played a part in your decision to eliminate meat from you diet? Comment below and let us know.