The Covid-19 pandemic raises questions about the role that relationships and interactions between humans and animals play in the context of widespread social distancing and isolation measures.
Researchers from the University of York, University College London and Queen’s University Belfast have investigated links between mental health and loneliness, companion animal ownership, the human-animal bond, and human-animal interactions; and explored animal owners’ perceptions related to the role of their animals during lockdown.
A link to the findings from this research can be found here.
Whilst previous research has indicated beneficial effects of Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAIs) for children with Autism, the findings are often contradictory.
Despite us being a nation of animal lovers, with companies including Google welcoming dogs into the workplace, 55% of private landlords (1) still fly in the face of Government guidelines with a ‘no pets’ policy.
On the latest episode of A DOG’S LIFE, host and ‘dog guru’, Anna Webb and Gabby Kuehn, Founder of PAAW (Pets Are Always Welcome) House discuss concerns that many ‘lockdown’ puppies may face homelessness due to private Landlords either misinterpreting or ignoring pet clauses and replacing them with blanket bans.
The Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS) is delighted to announce that its 2020 conference ‘Human and Animal Welfare in AAI: Learnings from the UK and across the globe’ will take place this year online, and is now open for registration.
After much consideration and in light of the global Coronavirus pandemic, this year’s conference will be held in a virtual format on Sunday 13 September 2020. Although it is lovely to meet up in person with delegates at the conference, we are excited about the opportunity of welcoming delegates to the event that may not have been otherwise able to take part due to travel restrictions.
A recent paper introduces the new LEAD Risk Assessment Toolkit
which provides urgently needed unified guidelines on best practice in
relation to risk assessment, safeguarding and animal welfare priorities in
Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI) practice. The authors also provide the first
comprehensive risk assessment and animal welfare tools to achieve consistent
welfare and safety standards for best practice across educational and other settings
around the world.
Loneliness and isolation are endemic and linked with a
plethora of physical and mental health problems. There is now overwhelming
evidence that companion animals can provide important social support and help
to mitigate against these effects. Unfortunately, many people in the UK, who
would benefit most from the health and social support provided by animal
companionship, are still denied this opportunity due to restrictive pet keeping
practices. SCAS, since its inauguration,
has raised awareness of pets in housing issues for example through its
conferences, research and by presentations to politicians in Westminster, the
Scottish Parliament and in Brussels. There is now political interest in this
vexing area of discrimination. A growing number of overseas governments and
regions have enacted positive pet policies. The Labour Party included positive
pet legislation in its Animal Welfare manifesto.
COVID-19 is a newly emerged coronavirus. SARS and MERS, other recently emerged human coronaviruses, originated in horseshoe bats and passed through other species, such as palm civet and camels. The definitive source of COVID-19 has still to be determined, but it is also thought to have originated in a bat, and then passed through an intermediate host, possibly a pangolin. This probably occurred at a wet market in Wuhan, China, where many animal species were kept close together, in unhygienic circumstances.
Publication of APGOCATS Report: Cats as
Companions: Can Cats Help Tackle Loneliness?
Loneliness is one of the greatest
public health challenges of our time. Recognition of the need
to address the negative impact of loneliness was reflected in the 2018 launch
of the UK government’s loneliness strategy1 and appointment of a
With the creation of the Wallis Annenberg PetSpace
Leadership Institute in 2017, a group of seventeen scholars from numerous
academic principles met in California to discuss the historical perspective of
the human-dog relationship. The resulting paper develops a broad
new multi-disciplinary framework for human-animal-environmental research.
“At a time when we are contending with the COVID-19 pandemic and
witnessing first-hand the inherent risk of zoonotic disease when we have close
contact with another species, it is important to
recognize that the human-dog relationship has withstood the test of time and
been mutually beneficial”, said Donna Fernandes, Director at the Wallis Annenberg
By Evangelos Diamantakos, BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD Cand (SCAS Trustee)
One of the main concerns among dog
owners and trainers/behaviourists regarding the impact of COVID19 is the
potential for dog behavioural issues following an extended self-isolation
period or lockdown. There is a common concern that many dogs may be affected by
separation anxiety. During these unprecedented times, most dog owners are spending
more time with their beloved dogs. However, this amazing opportunity may come
with a possible cost. This ‘extended’ time of interaction owners have with
their dogs is strengthening the bond between them and consequently the dogs’
‘dependence’ on the owners’ presence and company. The aim of this article is to
provide some useful training and behavioural tips to help prevent or manage possible
separation related behavioural problems that dogs may develop.