IAHAIO 2021 Conference

  • Day two: Sunday 26 September

Panel discussion: Pets in Housing: What next for policy and practice? Elizabeth Ormerod, Taryn Graham and Brinda Jegatheesan

The IAHAIO Tokyo Declaration 2007 stated “It is a universal, natural and basic human right to benefit from the presence of animals. Acknowledgement of this right has consequences requiring action in various spheres of legislation and regulation. IAHAIO urges all international bodies and national and local governments:

  1. To enact housing regulations which allow the keeping of companion animals if they can be housed properly and cared for adequately, while respecting the interests of people not desiring direct contact with such animals;
  2. To promote access of specially selected and trained, healthy and clean animals to medical care facilities to participate in animal-assisted therapy and/or animal-assisted activities;
  3. To recognize persons and animals adequately trained in and prepared for, animal-assisted therapy, animal-assisted activity and animal-assisted education;
  4. To allow the presence of companion animals in care/residential centres for people of any age, who would benefit from that presence;
  5. To promote the inclusion of companion animals in school curricula, according to the “IAHAIO Rio Declaration on Pets in Schools”.

In the intervening years good progress has been achieved in accomplishing the aims relating to Animal Assisted Interventions i.e. in items 2,3,4 and 5. However, the implementation of item 1, which concerns pets in housing regulations, has been more problematical.
In this session delegates will be provided with examples of how pets in housing practices, culture and regulations differ across the globe. These affect opportunities for pet ownership, and can seriously impact human and animal health and wellbeing.

Elizabeth Ormerod

Dr Elizabeth Ormerod, BVMA MRCVS, is a retired Scottish veterinary surgeon with 37 years experience in companion animal practice. She became attuned to the importance of the human-animal bond (HAB) in 1975 whilst managing the University of Glasgow’s inner city charity clinic. In 1984 she and her husband, a veterinary pathologist, purchased a companion animal practice. Strategies were developed to assess, support and strengthen client’s human-animal bonds, creating a bond-centred practice. As a Churchill Fellow and during subsequent study trips Elizabeth has had opportunities to visit outstanding AAI programmes in USA, Europe and Japan. Working with colleagues from the other health and social care professions, she has introduced Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) programmes to schools, nursing homes, hospitals, psychiatric facilities, sheltered housing and prisons. Elizabeth is co-founder of Canine Partners, the UK assistance dog programme, is a visiting lecturer on the HAB at UK veterinary schools and is a trainer on AAI courses offered by The Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS). She is a current Board member of SCAS, an international, interdisciplinary HAB membership organisation, the first to be established in the world and the largest outside North America. Elizabeth Ormerod received the first William F McCulloch award in Chicago, 2013.

Taryn Graham

An award-winning researcher, speaker, and educator, Dr. Taryn M. Graham focuses on promoting health in cities through pet-friendly policies and programs. She holds degrees from Concordia University (BA), the University of Waterloo (MA) and the University of Calgary (PhD).

Taryn’s work has received widespread coverage by the media and press including Canadian Vet Practice, CBC Radio, National Post, Montreal Gazette, Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and she consults for local governments across Canada.

Taryn is also the founder of PAWSitive Leadership, a humane education program that uses the fun and engaging world of dogs to teach compassion to kids. For the past decade, she has been actively involved with the animal welfare/animal sheltering sector. She also has experience training dogs.

Brinda Jegatheesan

Brinda Jegatheesan is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. She studies the dynamics of culture and childhood experiences in family and school settings and the traumatic impact of changes and continuities in family life (e.g., forced migration, colonization, domestic violence) with a specific focus on the complexities of these in vulnerable children forming multiple meaning systems with animals. In particular, she examines children’s opportunities to participate and learn across diverse environments to develop altruistic relationships with animals and the natural world, documenting the therapeutic benefits for children in ways that are personally consequential and memorable for them. She conducts and helps develop Humane Education programs in traditionally underserved schools in the USA and Asia. Central to her work are dimensions of social justice and equity in historically underserved and underprivileged non-dominant families and communities. Brinda is Vice President Development & Outreach of IAHAIO and serves on the board of several international and national human-animal bond organizations.