Walker, N., Cater, M., Bourg, B., Devall, H., & Sarver, M. (2018). Assessing Youth Perceptions and Knowledge of Ethics at 4-H Horse Shows in Louisiana. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 1-8.
Due to the increased awareness of animal welfare issues and sensitized attitudes throughout society, youth animal projects provide a unique opportunity to assess and impact youth understanding and attitudes regarding animal welfare. Animal ethics training is not an uncommon requirement for participants in 4-H livestock programs. However, participants in 4-H horse projects are not universally held to the same standard. The purpose of this study was to assess youth knowledge, attitudes, and confidence in understanding of equine welfare at the 4-H state horse show, as well as to determine the beliefs and observations of unethical practices, and if differences exist between those parameters in youth competitors. The results suggest that 4-H competitors are interested in ethics and believe that unethical behavior rarely occurs within the state 4-H horse project. However, youth report observing common unethical behaviors at the show, suggesting a disconnect between what they believe is unethical and what they actually observe. Educational opportunities exist within these animal projects and should be enhanced to address the gap in understanding.
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