IAHAIO 2021 Conference

  • Day two: Sunday 26 September

Plenary: Our bond with companion animals in a changing world, Sandra McCune

The global pandemic has changed our world in so many ways in the last year. But even before we had ever heard of COVID-19, our world was changing in ways that impact our lives and the way we relate to our companion animals and study them. Where and how we live, how we age, the companion animals we prefer to acquire, and changes in how we study our relationship with animals, are some of the themes covered in this plenary talk as well as looking to what the future might hold for Human-Animal Interaction studies. And yes, COVID-19 changed things for our companion animals too.

Sandra McCune

Sandra McCune qualified as a registered veterinary nurse before completing a degree in zoology from Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. She has a PhD in ethology and animal welfare from the University of Cambridge, U.K. She has studied a range of companion animal topics including aspects of temperament, behavior, cognition and welfare. She has extensive experience studying Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) from both animal and human perspectives in collaborations with researchers from many countries. Until early 2019, Sandra was a scientific leader for Mars Petcare, part of Mars Inc. where she led the Human-Animal Interaction area for 12 years. She was instrumental in the establishment of the public-private partnership between the National Institutes of Health and Mars Inc/WALTHAM resulting in a multi-million dollar programme of high quality HAI research, four workshops, three edited volumes and two themed journal issues including the Frontiers Special Topic, Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) Research: A Decade of Progress highlighting research from 10 years of the partnership. She is Visiting Professor of Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Lincoln, U.K. and a Trustee of the Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS), the UK’s national HAI organisation. Sandra currently leads the ANIMAL MATTERS consultancy providing expert input on animals in society and how they impact people, animals and the environment.