Decisions to behave in particular ways depend on beliefs, social norms, perceived constraints, and attitudes. Recently, this perspective has been expanded to consider the role of moral obligations in such decisions. Largely ignored are the possible interrelations among moral obligations to significant others and significant others’ influences as they interact to affect decisions. This is of particular interest when a strong moral obligation toward a significant other is associated with strong behavioral expectations by that same significant other. We investigated the interrelations among moral obligations to, and behavioral expectations from, 11 types of significant others in the cattle feeding industry to determine their joint influences on attitudes toward antibiotic use and recommendations for antibiotics in feedlot cattle, drawing data from a random sample of feedlot veterinarians (n=103). Results show that subjective norms and a sense of moral obligation affect both the attitudes toward, and the recommendations for, the use of antibiotics in feedlot cattle. We found several significant interactions among subjective norms and moral obligations, which suggests that perceived moral obligations to peers, clients, and the regulatory norm-setting sector associated with the feedlot industry increase the impact of social pressures from those sectors on the recommendation to use antibiotics in acutely sick, chronically sick, and high-risk feedlot cattle.
Jan, Jie-Sheng, William McIntosh, H. Scott, and Wesley Dean. 2010. "The Effects of Moral Obligations to Others and Others' Influence on Veterinarians' Attitudes toward and Recommendations to Utilize Antibiotics in Feedlot Cattle." Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 25(2): Article 5. Available at: https://egrove.olemiss.edu/jrss/vol25/iss2/5