These days, we have all the world’s current events at our fingertips. With the abundance of available information to take in comes a lot of bad news about suffering going on in the world.
There is war, disease, starvation, natural disasters, and violence. Some of this affects humans, and some of it affects animals.
Have you ever noticed that people seem to get more upset over people abusing animals than people abusing people?
Well, it’s not just you. Recently, researchers examined this trend to see if there was any truth to it. Turns out, there is!
It started two years ago, when medical research charity Harrison’s Fund put out two posters for public display asking for donations to their cause, which helps those suffering from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
As it happens, Duchenne occurs in both young children and in dogs. Both posters were identical, with the message, “Would you give £5 to save Harrison from a slow, painful death?”
The only difference was that one portrayed Harrison as a human boy, and the other portrayed Harrison as a dog.
And the version that received the most donations was the poster of the dog.
More recently, another group of researchers piggy-backed on this idea and set out to discover more connections in human-dog empathy.
The study was led by Professors Jack Levin and Arnold Arluke at Northeastern University in Boston.
Details of the Study
For their study, they gave 240 students one of four fake newspaper articles to read.
Every article identically described an attack with a baseball bat, and a victim. The scene was described, explaining that an officer arrived to find the victim unconscious and suffering from a broken leg and multiple lacerations.
The difference was that in each article, the victim was different; it was either a one-year old…