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PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute The Importance of Education about Companion Animals for Elementary School Children Dennis C. Turner,

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Presentation on theme: "PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute The Importance of Education about Companion Animals for Elementary School Children Dennis C. Turner,"— Presentation transcript:

1 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute The Importance of Education about Companion Animals for Elementary School Children Dennis C. Turner, President of IAHAIO

2 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute Background Information (I) Animals have accompanied mankind for thousands of years.

3 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute Background Information (II) There is evidence that interactions with animals (hunting for prey and avoiding predation) have influenced our cognition and brain development.

4 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute Background Information (III) Our relationships with animals have, however, changed over the millennia:  Predator-prey relationship  Domestication and usage Source of food and products Working animals Social companions (pets) Assistance animals

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6 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute Background Information (IV) Simultaneously, the human population has increased exponentially and the human race has experienced  first the cultural, then the industrial, and today, the technological revolution  urbanization and alienation from nature  changes in family structure and the way we educate our children  a significant increase in the pet population, but also, in the numbers of stray animals

7 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute Explaining the Human- Companion Animal Relationship (I) Biophilia and the biophilia hypothesis (E.O. Wilson; Wilson & Kellert)  an innate (genetically programmed) affinity to nature (plants and animals, natural settings)  Healing power of nature and animal relations  Nurturing behaviour in response to infantile stimuli (“Kindchenschema”)

8 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute Explaining the Human- Companion Animal Relationship (II) Attachment theory (Ainsworth and esp. Bowlby)  based on the very first social relationship between an infant and its mother  presence of the mother is reassuring  separation from the mother (or infant) causes anxiety and stress, and promotes contact seeking behaviour

9 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute Explaining the Human- Companion Animal Relationship (III) Social support theory (diverse authors)  in times of need, humans seek and use the social support (emotional and/or tangible) available from relatives and close friends  a good or large social support network is important  a companion animal (pet) can be a member of the social support network and provide emotional support, or emotional support that is different from that provided by other people

10 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute Children and animals (I) To many it seems natural that children grow up with companion animals.

11 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute Children and animals (II) During their joint activities they learn  much about the behaviour and character of their partner  that other beings have feelings and needs which must be respected and looked after  to interpret the communicative signals of the animal and better interpret the nonverbal communication of other persons

12 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute Children and animals (III) Scientifically controlled studies have found that  children with companion animals in the home are the preferred social partners of classmates in school (social skills);  children rely on their companion animals in times of need (share secrets with them, trust them because they do not “judge”)

13 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute Children and animals (IV)  pets promote the development ofempathy, compassion (respect for the feelings of others)

14 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute Children and animals (V) Scientifically controlled studies have found that  the presence of a companion animal in the classroom improves the learning atmosphere

15 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute Children and animals (VI) It has been shown that their presence  motivates the children (in all subjects!)  improves their concentration  reduces the general noise level (respect)  lowers the frequency of aggressive interactions

16 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute How to best learn about companion animals Application of the principles of the pedagogue Pestalozzi ( )  Combined stimulation/use of the head (cognitive development; thinking) hands (physical development; working) heart (emotional development; feeling)

17 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute Where to learn about companion animals (I) The best setting:  In the home from parents?  requires that the parents have adequate knowledge about the animal  role model function  In the classroom from teachers?  also requires adequate knowledge  teacher is also a role model  peer-group pressure/stimulation  educational materials available

18 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute Where to learn about companion animals (II) Many members of the International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations, IAHAIO, realizing the importance of education about dog and cat behaviour and safe behaviour towards these animals, have produced materials for use in elementary schools in their own countries.

19 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute What to learn about/from companion animals (I) First at a World Health Organization-IAHAIO workshop in 2000, then at the WHO (PAHO)-IAHAIO- WSPA Training Programme on „Zoonosis Control and Human-Animal Interaction“ in Sao Paulo, September 2001, we agreed that we need to increase respect for companion animals in the general public, but especially amongst school children by:

20 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute What to learn about/from companion animals (II)  explaining the benefits we get from companion animals (what they give us)  teaching about their needs and proper care  explaining the responsibilities of pet owners, especially in densely populated cities, as a significant measure to reduce abandonmentof such animals onto the streets. Further, the WHO-IAHAIO-WSPA Training Programme officially endorsed:

21 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute The IAHAIO Rio Declaration on Pets in Schools (I) Preamble Given the strong evidence that has accumulated in recent years demonstrating the value, to children and juveniles, of social relationships with companion animals it is important that children be taught proper and safe behaviour towards those animals and the correct care, handling and treatment of the various companion animal species.

22 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute The IAHAIO Rio Declaration on Pets in Schools (II) Realizing that companion animals in school curricula encourage the moral, spiritual and personal development of each child, bring social benefits to the school community and enhance opportunities for learning in many different areas of the school curriculum, IAHAIO members have adopted fundamental guidelines on pets in schools at their General Assembly, held in Rio de Janeiro in September 2001.

23 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute The IAHAIO Rio Declaration on Pets in Schools (III) IAHAIO urges all school authorities and teachers, as well as all persons and organisations involved in pet programmes for schools, to consider and abide by the following guidelines:

24 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute The IAHAIO Rio Declaration on Pets in Schools (IV) 1.Programmes about companion animals should, at some point, allow personal contact with such animals in the classroom setting. Depending on school regulations and facilities, these animals will: a)be kept, under suitable conditions, on the premises, or b)be brought to school by the teacher, or c)come to visit, in the context of a visiting programme, together with their owners, or d)accompany, as a service dog, a child with special needs.

25 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute The IAHAIO Rio Declaration on Pets in Schools (V) 2. Any programme involving personal contact between children and companion animals must ensure: a) that the animals involved are safe (specially selected and/or trained), healthy (as attested by a veterinarian), prepared for the school environment (e.g. socialized to children, adjusted to travel in the case of visiting animals), properly housed (either in the classroom or while at home), and always under supervision of a knowledgeable adult (either the teacher or the owner); b)that safety, health and feelings of each child in the class are respected.

26 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute The IAHAIO Rio Declaration on Pets in Schools (VI) 3.Prior to the acquisition of classroom animals or visitation of the class by programme personnel with companion animals that meet the above criteria, both school authorities and parents must be informed and convinced of the value of such encounters.

27 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute The IAHAIO Rio Declaration on Pets in Schools (VII) 4.Precise learning objectives must be defined and should include: a)enhancement of knowledge and learning motivation in various areas of the school curriculum b)encouragement of respect and of a sense of responsibility for other life forms c)consideration of each child’s expressive potential and involvement. 5. The safety and well-being of the animals involved must be guaranteed at all times.

28 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute The future The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) had already produced it’s successful teacher’s manual „Caring for Animals“, but this too, needed revisions for use in all regions of the world. Therefore, WSPA, IAHAIO and WHO combined their efforts to produce a new animal welfare educational manual (IN AWE), which will be available from their websites (pdf-format) free of charge for use by school authorities and teachers in 2006.

29 PD Dr. sc. D.C. Turner Animal Behavior Zoology Institute The future We can all be grateful to the lead that has taken on this project and will hear more about this later in the programme from Jasmijn DeBoo and John Callaghan. Thank you for your kind attention! Dennis C. Turner, IAHAIO (and member of the Executive Committee, WSPA)


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