Everyday millions of cats and dogs share our beds, our food, and our stories. They are our best friends and when they are sick, injured or cross the rainbow bridge, we worry for them and mourn for them. We express great love and compassion for these animals. Yet everyday billions of cows, pigs, and chickens are packed into tiny cages until they are shipped off to be brutally killed and ultimately consumed as breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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Note 11/8/12: While FARM helped fund this study and is intrigued by the results, we do not believe that this is the final word on graphic vs. non-graphic imagery. We hope this study and this post contribute meaningfully to the dialogue about this topic.

FARM’s Sabina Fund recently helped fund a study, conducted by Chris Monteiro,* to determine whether images of farmed animals that are low, moderate or high in graphic detail (gore produced by violence) was most effective at improving attitudes toward animal rights. The images used, from low graphic detail to high, were: a dead pig on a muddy slaughterhouse floor, a dead pig on a bloody slaughterhouse floor, and a dead pig with their throat slit on a bloody slaughterhouse floor. The images’ effects on attitudes towards animal rights were measured using the Wuensch animal rights scale, a high score on which indicates positive attitudes towards animal rights, and a low score indicates negative attitudes towards animal rights (Wuensch, Jenkins, & Poteat, 2002). There were multiple interactions between personality characteristics and the effects of the different images, and the two most relevant to activists are discussed here.

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