Animalia

An Anthrozoology Journal


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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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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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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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Film Review: Bestiaire (2012, Zeitgeist Films)

Physiologus, one of the most popular books of the Middle Ages, was a predecessor of bestiaries. The focus of bestiaires is not on accuracy, but rather using mythical creatures to convey legends or teach moral tales (Theobald, 1928; Curley, 1979). A new incarnation of these historical texts is brought to life in Bestiaire, a film by Denis Côté. The mythical animals that filled the pages of the book have now been replaced by sentient beings occupying a Canadian safari park. Insight into these different ways of being is captured through the lens of the director. The lack of narration throughout this film heightens the experience for the viewers. Interactions between non-human and human animals occur around feeding and maintenance of the park, medical attention, or simple observations. Although there are scenes of a taxidermist and some artists, the majority of the time follows the animals at a Québec safari park through the changing seasons. Visitors swarm to the park in the summer, but much of the film focuses on the isolated lives of the inhabitants during the other seasons of the year. These stark contrasts force the viewers to ask: Who benefits from this park?

By Karen Dalke

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(Re)Evaluating the Animality of Man and the Animality of Animals in Walter Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz and Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan

Science Fiction texts are in a unique position to explore human/animal relationships and explore the transformative power of such relationships. There has been a call from within the scholarship community to address this power and focus on animal studies within science fiction. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter Miller and The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut are concerned with human/animal relationships and the important power within these relationships. Both texts provide an avenue for exploring human and animal identity, and suggest ways that these identities can be reshaped. It is through human relationships to animals that an increased capacity for compassion can be found and fostered.

By Skye Cervone

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