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dc.contributor.advisorFleming, Jean
dc.contributor.authorLau, Felicia
dc.identifier.citationLau, F. (2011). Of Cetaceans and Men: Anthropocentric Investigations into the Whaling Debate (Thesis, Master of Science Communication). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractAbstract Public perception of the whaling issue is one small part of the field of Science Communication, which requires more research. The research done in this study is important in further expanding that knowledge. There are various issues underlying the conflict between anti-whaling and pro-whaling forces, such as the intelligence of whales, the safety of eating whale meat and the humaneness of the methods used to kill whales. These issues can frame public perception of whaling, which has not received much attention, compared to the political, cultural and historical aspects of the whaling issue. The research question for this study was: Are there any identifiable and influential factors that might be used to change people’s minds on the whaling issue? The methodology used in this study is known in market research as a web-based research method, which involves the use of an online survey. The survey was designed in four parts to determine the respondent’s level of interest in the whaling debate, their position in the whaling issue, their opinions on whaling, their willingness to change their minds, based on hypothetical scenarios concerning the whaling issue and demographic information. The website surveymonkey and hardcopy surveys were the sampling frame, non-probability sampling techniques were employed and a minimum sample size of 400 was chosen. Various methods of advertising such as posters, flyers and newspaper advertisements were used to attract potential respondents to the survey. Hardcopies of the survey were also distributed to all of the University of Otago residential colleges and were used for respondents to complete the survey in person. Exploratory and regression analyses were performed on the data using the statistical program R. The exploratory results show that the majority of respondents are female, in their 20s, Europeans from New Zealand, employed, not vegetarian and not religious. As for the attitudes of the respondents to whaling, the attitude of the New Zealand public is extremely anti-whaling, which is reflected in their opinions that whales are intelligent creatures. The majority of respondents approve of a sustainable method of whaling but do not think that commercial whaling can be sustainable. The majority of respondents do not approve of indigenous people continuing to hunt whales for food. The majority of respondents do not approve of whaling on either an ecological or moral grounds. The majority of respondents do not think that the proposal by the IWC would resolve the whaling debate. The main conclusion of this study from the results of the regression coefficients is that young people from non-whaling countries, who are not religious, can be more easily convinced to adopt pro-whaling attitudes if they are shown evidence that whales are unintelligent creatures. Those more sympathetic towards the whalers are more easily persuaded to change their attitudes as well. However, the difficulty in persuading the pro-whaling respondents to adopt anti-whaling attitudes could be due to the possible polarised nature of the respondent’s positions on the whaling issue.en_NZ
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.subjectpublic opinionen_NZ
dc.titleOf Cetaceans and Men: Anthropocentric Investigations into the Whaling Debateen_NZ
dc.typeThesis Communicationen_NZ of Science Communicationen_NZ of Otago Theses
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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