Attitudes about use and management of wildlife are changing, according to an article in the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle by Eric Keszler of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. He cites a study conducted by Colorado State University documenting the nation’s shifting attitude from “utilitarianism” (traditional values supportive of hunting and fishing) to “mutualism” (values advocating animal rights). Mr. Keszler notes that Wyoming had a higher percentage of “pluralists” (those whose views fall somewhere in the middle) than any other state.
There has been no relevant previous research to establish trends or changes in the way people value wildlife, but this research does suggest that wildlife value orientations are changing in the West, and this is reflected mainly in a shift away from utilitarian values and toward mutualist values.
The researchers concluded that this shift is closely associated with some other basic culture trends.
Shifts away from utilitarian values are closely linked to economic well-being, urbanization, higher levels of education and increased environmentalism.
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