Animalia

An Anthrozoology Journal


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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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Child-Canine Bonding in Children with ASD: Findings Within and Across Case Studies

The demand for support for families impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continues to grow, and one increasingly popular avenue of support is the use of companion canines. Parents searching for service canines trained to work with children with ASD, however, face formidable obstacles surrounding the availability and cost of canines. Due to these challenges, parents may seek less formal routes to support their children with ASD, often adding companion canines to their family. Despite enthusiasm, little is known about human-animal bonding in children with ASD and research identifying factors that influence children on the spectrum’s ability to bond with a companion canine is meagre. Using a Family Systems approach and Bowlby’s Attachment theory, this exploratory case study sought to identify the pathways through which child-canine bonding occurs and the factors contributing to this bonding process. Families (N=6), with a child aged 5-14 years with a confirmed diagnosis of ASD and their family canine, participated in the study. Findings revealed that the child-canine bond in children with ASD can be conceptualized as an attachment relationship. Furthermore, seven themes characterizing child-canine bonding emerged. Findings highlight theoretical and applied implications within the fields of human-animal interaction (HAI) and ASD.

 By Kathryn Struik and John-Tyler Binfet

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Polar Similar: Intersections of Anthropology and Conservation

Anthropologists and conservationists have a long history of conflict, largely stemming from the creation of protected areas that are frequently placed on the land belonging to Indigenous communities for which anthropologists advocate. While this paper does not wish to diminish the values of either group regarding this conflict, it argues that anthropologists and conservationists actually have much to agree upon. The industrocentric paradigm, which places great value on continuous growth and profit, is increasingly degrading the land and threatening both the humans and nonhumans who sustain off of it. Not only do activities such as mining, logging, and globalized agriculture pollute waterways, decimate valuable forest habitat, and facilitate the poaching of a number of species, but they also destroy the homes and impinge upon the lifeways of various human populations who rely on the land and the species that live there for survival. Recognizing that industry is a common adversary of both humans and nonhumans opens up possibilities of bringing people together for a mutual cause.

By Nathan Poirier and Sarah Tomasello

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“It’s not that they sting you. It’s that they don’t sting you.” Beekeepers and the Narrative Construction of Human-honeybee Relationships

There are seemingly endless accounts available of the bond that is often formed between humans and other mammals. Far less, however, has been written on interactions between humans and animals of more pronounced physiological difference to us, for example, insects. The purpose of this study was to investigate how far it is possible for a human to experience meaningful interactions with, or even to form an attachment bond to, an animal of extreme phylogenetic difference to us, namely, the honeybee (Apis mellifera).

Preliminary research was conducted through an online survey posted on the UK’s most popular beekeeping forum. Three quarters of survey respondents indicated that they viewed their interactions with bees as a ‘relationship’ with the bees. The survey was followed up by in-depth interviews with four beekeepers, chosen to represent as varied a cross-section of beekeeper society as possible, in terms of attitude, method and experience. Through a narrative research approach three common themes were explored. These were the notion of communicating with bees, elements of risk and reward in beekeeping, and the human-bee co- creation of the hive space. Duranti’s description of culture as knowledge (1997), both propositional (‘know that’ information) and procedural (‘know-how’ information) was useful in exploring these themes. It was found that beekeepers experience their interactions with bees in intense, embodied ways that encourage them to form strong attachment bonds to their bee colonies.

By Kate Marx

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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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