IAHAIO 2021 Conference

  • Day one: Saturday 25 September

Plenary: Reflections on the past and dreams for the future, — 1982 to 2022, 40 years as a witness to, and participant in the field, Dennis Turner

This will be my last major international talk, sort of a review and view as “an elder statesman” in the field of human-animal relations. I will reflect on the original ‘giants in the field’ and mention what I consider to be the landmark studies that have helped establish anthrozoology as an accepted academic discipline; the practitioner’s work in social institutions which led historically to the founding of IAHAIO by the original member organizations and indirectly to the founding of ISAZ; the professionalization of training in the field including accreditation of training programs by ISAAT and ESAAT; the development of standards for best practice and quality development and control; research into the efficacy of interventions and mechanisms explaining their success; and the financing of both basic and applied research on human-animal interactions. Journals specific to the field have become established and first academic positions created.  One theme has always accompanied and advanced the field and should never be forgotten: the importance of the interdisciplinary approach in both research and programs. On the research side academics and practitioners have started to, and need to cooperate even more often in the future; and on the applied programs side, they have always benefited from the involvement of experts from various disciplines and all of the stakeholders. Now it is time for the younger generation to take up the torch from those earlier ‘giants in the field’ and continue to build on the past while bringing new ideas and methods into this still exciting field with many discoveries waiting to be made just around the corner.

Dennis Turner

Born in the USA, moved to Switzerland with his Swiss wife in 1973 and also became Swiss in 1992. ScD degree (Doctor of Science) in 1974 from The Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health (Dept. of Mental Hygiene), Baltimore. From 1975 to 2011, Senior Lecturer and Research Associate, Animal Behavior, Dept. of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich (Head of the Companion Animal Ethology and Human-Animal Relations Group). Since 2000, also Priv. Doz. (PD title), Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich. From 2001 to 2014 elected yearly as Invited Professor for Animal-Assisted Therapy and Anthrozoology, Azabu University Graduate School, Fuchinobe (Tokyo), Japan. Author/co-author of numerous peer-reviewed research papers and book chapters, co-editor/author of several books available in a number of languages. President of IAHAIO from 1995 to 2010. Founding secretary of ISAAT, 2006 to 2015.