Meet our Members

IAHAIO currently has over 90 member organizations across the world. An overview of all our members, with their website listings can be found here.

Each month we go behind the scenes and find out about the latest activities and achievements of one of our member organizations. This month our Member Focus is on AAIZOO, a Full Member based in The Netherlands.

Member Focus – AAIZOO, The Netherlands

AAIZOO has been a full member of IAHAIO for a number of years and is very active in the field.

Here Richard Griffioen from AAIZOO gives us an update on recent developments at AAIZOO and forthcoming events.


 The primary aims of AAIZOO are to:

  1. Organize all Dutch animal-assisted healthcare, education, and other activities under one body;
  2. Set guidelines for animal-assisted activities of any kind;
  3. Set criteria for professionals and volunteers that deliver such activities; and
  4. Safeguard the welfare of the animals used in those activities


The chair was installed at the Department of Psychology of the Open University of the Netherlands in 2013, with the inaugural lecture given by Enders-Slegers on 6th December of that same year. The significance of this event can hardly be underestimated. It was the first time in history that a chair in Anthrozoology had been installed in a Psychology department, allowing the two foundational fields of many AAI practices to truly blend together at the academic level (for more information, read Anthrozoology in the Netherlands: Connecting Science and Practice, J.Eshuis, MJ Enders-Slegers and Th. Verheggen, in Companion Animals in Everyday Life, M.P. Pregowski, Ed. 2016)


Dr Machteld van Dierendonck, a specialist on animal welfare, introduced a two day workshop on Animal Welfare. Dr van Dierendonck has worked as a clinical ethologist and clinical scientist on animal behaviour and animal welfare for almost 20 years.

Together with the IVA (Institute of Anthrozoolgy) AAIZOO has developed guidelines on Dog-Assisted Interventions (following the example of ESAAT/ISAAT guidelines) and is now working on the same procedure to develop guidelines for working with horses (Hippotherapy, Equine facilitated learning and Psychotherapy with horses, coaching with horses, etc).

AAIZOO and IVA are also working on a curriculum for the professional training of people who want to work in the field of human-animal interactions.


“With Animals More Fun Life” is a training program for children with Down syndrome and children with ASD to become a junior animal caretaker and trainer. It aims to help children develop more social interaction and better speech and language development.

This program also forms part of the research studies of the Institute of Anthrozoology. The primary focus of the research is to investigate the development of behaviour attunement in order to increase self-reliance and develop greater social response.


Save the date

16 November 2017, The Netherlands

On 16 November 2017, the BIO foundation, in collaboration with Prof Nieuwenhuizen and Prof Enders-Slegers
will be hosting the International Symposium: Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI), with speakers from Denver University, Path International USA, E-Motion Vienna and other respected European and Dutch researchers and practitioners. Several are AAIZOO members.


For more details on this conference and the work of AAIZOO, please visit their website.