In the daily lives of humans are many opportunities to protect or harm nonhuman animals. Through consumer choices, environmentally sensitive acts, or treatment of nearby animals, individual humans create animal protections or harms. For this reason, social realities are as important as are the policy decisions that take place in political circles.
Attitudes around the world reveal that four different themes are now prevailing. Each country weaves these themes into a unique pattern depending upon cultural, religious, and political variables. It is not unusual, then, to find in a particular society that one of these themes is far more prominent than the other three themes. But if one looks closely enough, virtually all societies today reflect all four of these themes.
The first theme is diversity of attitudes, which has been mentioned as occurring in many societies and cultures. The second theme is change, which is grounded in the fact that societies around the globe are in deep ferment over our relationships with other living beings. The third theme is the continuing influence of traditional or inherited values, for these play an important part in the way people talk about the final theme,