Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version



Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2020.


Copyright 2020 Laura Casne


Environmental campaigns have used animal imagery to push their initiatives for years, shocking viewers with images of human caused damage to change environmental behavior. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), a nonprofit located in Britain released a statement that they responded to 5000 calls annually regarding litter and that the main victims were wildlife species (Litter and Animals | Rubbish and Animals - RSPCA, 2017). A previous study done by Schultz (2000) showed animals in different conditions (animals in nature and animals harmed in nature), with results indicated that those who viewed an image of a harmed animal showed higher environmental concern (Schultz, 2007). The current study extends this research, aiming to link human empathy and environmental concern to animal welfare and environmental degradation. Through a three-treatment survey experiment, this study finds that there was no significance in emotional difference between groups. While hypotheses had to be rejected, participants in Treatment 1 and Treatment 3 showed higher environmental concerns in the studies post questions. Though there was no great significance, the study shows that animals that do not seem harmed in a litter ridden landscape may ease environmental concern in viewers.