IAHAIO 2021 Conference

  • Day two: Sunday 26 September

Symposium: Animal welfare standards in AAI, Marie-Jose Enders-Slegers, Karin Hediger, Elizabeth Ormerod, Brinda Jegatheesan

IAHAIO is creating international guidelines for best practice in AAI. Building on the IAHAIO White Paper Definitions for Animal Assisted Intervention and Guidelines for Wellness of Animals Involved, (published in 2014 and revised in 2018), IAHAIO has established an international, multi-disciplinary task force on ‘Standards of Best Practice in Animal-Assisted Interventions and Animal Welfare.’ to undertake this important work.
IAHAIO recognises that excellent work is already taking place in AAI programmes across the globe and that there are good examples of sound protocols that have already been developed. Members of this task force have worked together since 2018 to develop international guidelines for future practice, including education and training of people working with animals, animal selection and animal welfare issues.

The IAHAIO international guidelines will serve the wider aims of:

  • Bringing greater professionalism to the field
  • Improve uptake in the field
  • Enhance client and public confidence in the field
  • Enhance the quality of AAI programmes

In this symposium, we will present the IAHAIO international guidelines specifically for the care, welfare and training in AAI for:

  • Equines
  • Small animals
  • Farm animals

Marie-Jose Enders-Slegers

Marie-Jose Enders-Slegers, PhD has been Professor in Anthrozoology at the Faculty of Psychology at the Open University in Heerlen, the Netherlands, since June 2013. She successively obtained her Doctoral Diploma Psychology (1990) at the University of Utrecht; a Doctorate (PhD) in Psychology (2000); a Diploma Health Care Psychologist (2001), Certificates Basic- and Senior Lecturer (2003) at the Utrecht University and until now numerous post doctorate courses for further qualifications in research and clinical psychology. She specializes in human-animal interactions. Her research is focused on the development of human-animal relations and the meaning of human-animal interactions for vulnerable people (e.g. elderly, demented elderly, traumatized children, mentally handicapped people, children with psychiatric disorders, autistic children, and psychiatric patients) and on the link between domestic violence and animal abuse. Furthermore, she was founder and is nowadays adviser of AAIZOO (Animal Assisted Interventions in Zorg (Care), Onderzoek (Research), Onderwijs (Education); is Fellow at the Denver University; has been member of the Expert Advisory Group Sociology of the CALLISTO project of the European Union (until 2016), is founder and board member of IVA, (Institute for Anthrozoology in the Netherlands), is board member ( ex officio) of ISAZ (International Society of Anthrozoology), is on the advisory council of Green Chimneys, Brewster, N.Y. and at HABRI Central Management Advisory Board, U.S.A. She is President of the International Association of Human-Animal Interactions (IAHAIO).

Karin Hediger

Dr Karin Hediger is a psychotherapist and researcher at the University of Basel, Switzerland, at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and a neurorehabilitation clinic, investigating effects of animal-assisted interventions. After studying psychology at University of Zürich, Switzerland, she did her PhD in Rostock, Germany, in the field of human-animal interaction. She has a certificate in animal-assisted therapy, a diploma in equine-assisted therapy and recently founded a centre for animal-assisted psychotherapy.
Karin Hediger is president of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Human-Animal Relationship (IEMT Switzerland), secretary of the International Society for Animal Assisted Therapy (ISAAT) and gives courses on animal-assisted interventions in many different institutes. Karin also holds the positions of Professor of Anthrozoology at the Open University, The Netherlands and Assistant Professor in Psychology at the University of Basel, Switzerland.

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.

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.