An Anthrozoology Journal


Welcome to Animalia!

Welcome to Animalia: An Anthrozoology Journal. This project has been in the making since 2011, the first year of my Master of Science program in Anthrozoology at Canisius College. Thanks to the efforts of a handful of dedicated individuals and talented scholars, we now have several articles available for your perusal, and we hope you find them educational and valuable.

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The Human and Animal Bond in The Red Pony

John Steinbeck perceives the natural world in The Red Pony as uncaring and unforgiving and predatory since it is full of predators which are in a constant conflict against one another. Such a conflict occurs either between animals and animals or between humans and animals or between humans and humans. At last it results in the survival of the fittest. Steinbeck demonstrates here his knowledge about little boys’ behavior toward animals, and how they have to be taught not to be cruel to animals; Jody Tiflin is a good example. Also, Steinbeck shows us how human and animal lives are closely connected. In this case, old Gitano and old Easter are good examples. Besides, Steinbeck reveals how Jody Tiflin ascends from boyhood to manhood. Jody’s acquisition of the red pony lifts him above his friends. One should remember that Steinbeck is enamored of the Arthurian cycle and so Steinbeck believes that the horse is of key importance to the knight. This idea can clearly be seen in “The Leader of the People” when the grandfather tells the Tiflin family and Billy Buck about his knighthood when he leads his people across the plains to fight the Indians.

By Chaker Mohamed Ben Ali

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Animal-Assisted Interventions as a Learning Aid – A Literature Review

Animal-assisted interventions (AAI) on learning and mental health is an evolving matter within psychology. In past history, such mediations have been held to ridicule by scholars who deemed animals to be insignificant within the field. Today, the American Humane Association postulates that the objective of AAI is a goal-directed movement, used to improve one’s “social, cognitive or emotional functioning” (Ganzert, 2013). “Animal- assisted Intervention” is an umbrella term for what is traditionally known as animal-assisted therapy (AAT), animal-assisted activities (AAA), and animal-assisted education (AAE). This paper seeks to provide a comprehensive review of extant empirical research on AAI as a tool to enhance children’s learning outcomes.

By Robyn Lawes

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Human Animal Relationship: A Source of Wellbeing and a Therapeutic Catalytic Tool

The aim of this study was to better understand the general beliefs and attitudes toward companion animals in Puerto Rico. This relationship becoming a possible source of wellbeing and a therapeutic catalytic tool in our participant life’s. Data was collected using an auto- administered questionnaire developed by the authors. The target populations of this survey were Puerto Rican residents, aged at least over 21 years. The total data collected was a total of 1,327 responses. The results shows that 84% of the participants indicated they have an animal companions in their home, only 16% said they have none. Almost 82% participants currently have a total of 4 (mean = 3.8) animal companions. The majority (39%) of the participants indicated that they spend 12 hours or more with their companion animals. Concerning activities with their companion animal’s participants said that they stroked (94%), played (92%), talked (89%) and walked (57%) their companion animals. Concerning the human animal bond, participants rated their companion animals as extremely important (72%), very important (24%), neutral (4%), not that important (0.4%), and not important (0.1%). They also rated their companion animals as family members (99%). The results of this study align with other research on the topic that show that human animal interaction enhance and facilitate positive traits in us (Hediger and Turner, 2014). This in turn becomes a fundamental opportunity in the work of counseling psychology within the context of psychotherapy to create more effective interventions and take into account a very important relationship in the participant’s life. Companion animals should become part of the factors we consider when working and developing therapeutic plans for our participants (Thew, Marco, Erdman and Caro, 2015).

By Úrsula Aragunde Kohl

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Past Experience Influences the Social Behavior of Cows (Bos taurus) and Pigs (Sus scrofa) in the Sanctuary Setting

The long-term effects of early traumatic experiences in humans and some nonhuman animals are well documented. This study explored the role of a past history on the social behavior of cows and pigs in the sanctuary setting. Subjects were cows (N=8) and pigs (N = 10) housed at the Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. The researchers recorded all social behavior amongst conspecifics and categorized behavior as either affiliative or agonistic. Social behavior was compared amongst animals divided into groups according to their previous setting (beef vs. dairy cows, free range vs. intensively farmed vs. neglected pet pigs). In both species, affiliation behavior showed clear differences based on past experience. Beef cows were significantly more affiliative than cows kept for dairy. Pigs raised in free-range settings showed significantly more affiliation than pigs from intensive farms or neglected pets, with the latter two groups showing no affiliation at all. Altogether, these results show a link between past experience and later social behavior, emphasizing the potential for both of these farmed species to experience long term psychological impacts as the result of traumatic experiences in the early settings they are placed in by humans.

By Larisa Schuckle and Malini Suchak

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The Use of Animal-Assisted Interventions in Social Services: A Literature Synthesis

The field of Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI’s) is emerging and developing steadily, however the available literature which addresses this field is limited. This literature synthesis includes 27 articles from this limited pool and addresses what AAI programs exist, how they are being studied, and what the results of these studies are. This synthesis identifies characteristics of current AAI programs, and the methods being used to assess them, and groups findings from all 27 articles thematically. Findings suggest that AAI’s help participants in developing life skills, improve their desire to attend and participate in the intervention, support feelings of non-judgement and the generation of trust within the therapeutic relationship, help to alleviate a variety of symptoms, and are typically cost efficient. Findings also indicate the potential for AAI’s to improve participants levels of sociability and self-esteem but these findings are not consistent across studies. Finally, a number of questions and areas for further research are identified, which will support continued development, and improve effectiveness of these interventions.

By Rebecca Sheluk

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A Narrative Review of Qualitative and Quantitative Research in Equine-assisted Social Work or Therapy – Addressing Gaps and Contradictory Results

This article reviews the published literature narrative about equine-assisted or equine-facilitated social work or therapy, a growing area of interventions. The purpose is to shed light on gaps and contradictory results in previous studies between 2000-2014. The goal is to assist practitioners and researchers, identifying and providing perspectives on complicated issues when results of interventions are pointing in different directions. In total, 55 published articles and 15 dissertations were analyzed thematically. Excluded are studies focused on therapeutic riding for the physically disabled or hippotherapy benefiting from equine movement, as well as studies focused on individuals’ riding goals or horsemanship skills. The implications for further research address gaps in the literature on the process in equine assisted or facilitated work. The process need to be described from professional affiliation, the purpose of the intervention, theoretical perspective, the intended role of the horse, ethical approach both concerning the client and the horse, plan to prevent risks as well as describe risks in relation to possible outcomes both for the client and the horse and finally a description about how the intervention are evaluated. Standardization of terminology and language used to communicate interventions, methods, and theories is recommended. The analysis suggests a need to use a variety of research methods in interdisciplinary research groups. This allows different paradigms of participatory, as well as constructivism or post-positivism, to capture the complexity of social work or therapy facilitated or assisted by horses. This article does not critically review each specific investigation, but focuses on how the process has been presented in previous research.

By Catharina Carlsson

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Photo by G. Hjortryd


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Three Poems: Somatic Sympathy; Raising Meat Birds; Fish in a Barrel

These poems explore moments when animal-human intersections raise questions about the continuity of animal ethics and perspectival compassion. Considering topics from hunting, fishing, and raising meat birds as choices, the poems offer insights into the imposed obligations of vulnerable populations as well as the legitimacy of anthropocentric choices and preferences.

By E.F. Schraeder

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