Silke Feltz & Adam Feltz
University of Oklahoma
There have been extensive outreach programs to educate people about the realities of animal food production. However, there has been relatively little attention to measuring what people actually know about the production of animal food products and the conditions in which those animals exist. A reliable measure of knowledge of animal products is required to determine if making people more knowledgeable about the condition of animals reduces animal product consumption. In four studies, we developed an objective measure of knowledge of animal consumption—the Knowledge of Animals as Food Scale. Study 1 (N = 265) used Item Response Theory to analyze 35 knowledge-based items. Based on Study 1, Study 2 (N = 243) tested the 11-best knowledge-based items and demonstrated that the scale had convergent, discriminant, and criterion validity. The Knowledge of Animals as Food Scale successfully predicted fewer numbers of days per the average week one consumes meat. Study 3 (N = 289) refined the instrument to 9 items and replicated the results of Study 2. Study 4 (N = 201) replicated the results and also provided causal evidence that a very brief educational intervention can increase knowledge measured by the scale (d = .28). In studies 2, 3, and 4, the Knowledge of Animals as Food Scale was often a unique or best predictor of consumption of animal products compared to other values concerning animals. Having a valid, reliable measure of knowledge of animals used as food has important psychological and ethical implications including providing insight on whether education works and ways to help promote individual autonomy.