Who we are

The International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organizations (IAHAIO) is the global association of organizations that engage in practice, research and/or education in animal assisted activity, animal assisted therapy, and service animal training.  These activities serve to promote pet ownership, the human-animal bond, and respectful approaches to engaging with animals.
We have over 100 multidisciplinary member organizations and professional associations globally such as the AVMA, AAHA, JAHA, WSPA, and AAH-ABV in the veterinary medical field, the HABRI Foundation, ISAZ, and a wide range of academic centers, AAA and AAT practice organizations.  The very large cadre of member organizations strongly positions IAHAIO to lead the HAI field in important directions.


Our mission is to provide international leadership in advancing the field of Human-Animal Interaction (HAI). This is accomplished through research, education, and collaboration among our membership, policy makers, practitioners, other human-animal interaction organizations and the general public.


For the fields of human-animal interactions and animal-assisted interventions:

  1. Promote new research, education and practice development
  2. Provide a forum for sharing ideas and information, and building collaborations
  3. Educate policy and decision makers at national and international levels about the benefits of both fields


  1. Hold regular international conferences
  2. Conduct a yearly annual general meeting, engaging member groups through joint symposia or dedicated tracks
  3. Sponsor policy statements/resolutions and declarations on issues related to HAI, for example the IAHAIO White Paper 2014
  4. Publish scientific and practice-based articles in the IAHAIO open access, peer reviewed online Journal, People and Animals: The International Journal of Research and Practice
  5. Provide an online forum for members, researchers and practitioners
  6. Publish a bi-monthly newsletter for members, supporters and the public on HAI happenings around the world
  7. Establish international task-forces to address pressing issues in the field, for example the international task-force for standards in AAI best practice and animal welfare

Priority areas 2018-2023

In November 2017, the IAHAIO Board announced the following priority areas for 2018-2023. These form part of our long-term vision for the organization.

IAHAIO acknowledges that there is much to accomplish in the field of HAI and AAI and that the next few years present exciting opportunities for IAHAIO to work with its members to enhance their studies and programs and, together with IAHAIO, to move the field forward.  In doing so, IAHAIO is also mindful of the challenge to resource and fund these activities and has identified 5 main priority areas from 2018 onwards which will be championed by IAHAIO and for which IAHAIO will actively seek funding and support.

1. Encourage collaboration and closer working between researchers and practitioners in HAI and AAI

  • Opportunities to publish in the IAHAIO, online, peer-reviewed Journal, People and Animals: The International Journal of Research and Practice
  • Online networking platform (IAHAIO in collaboration with ISAZ)
  • Special sessions of IAHAIO in conferences and events
  • Providing a platform to present new research and pilot studies in conferences/symposia organized by IAHAIO in collaboration with member organization

2. Closer co-operation with IAHAIO membership

  • Increase networking opportunities through the IAHAIO online forum and more regular joint IAHAIO/member events
  • Effective and regular communication between the IAHAIO Board and member organizations, to help shape the priority areas for development and share expertise to enhance this work
  • Consider and consult members on creating member zones based on geographic spread and/or specialisms to encourage closer working and better communication
  • Work with members to learn about their successes in HAI and AAI, to help communicate these more widely, and to support them in addressing challenges in their local regions
  • Involve members in communicating their events on our website

3. Support emerging needs of knowledge on HAI and AAI programs in countries/regions where HAI and AAI are underdeveloped

  • Enhance knowledge about the HAI and AAI
  • Strengthen leadership in developing & supporting global collaborative partnerships to enhance standards and best practices in AAI
  • Establish effective participatory mechanisms to enable inclusive & sustainable collaborative engagement
  • Establish a new category within IAHAIO for newly-emerging organizations involved in HAI or AAI to join IAHAIO and be supported to adopt good human and animal welfare practices

4. Encourage best practices for human and animal welfare in AAI programs

  • Global dissemination of the IAHAIO White Paper
  • Working with the IAHAIO international task force looking at improving animal welfare in AAI programs
  • Promotion of sound education and training programs
  • Provide a grant to encourage practitioners to develop a new program (William McCullogh award), alternating each year with a grant to support new research (Johannes Odendaal award). Priority to be given to AAI/HAI underdeveloped country. There will be a well-delineated protocol for applicants.

5. IAHAIO to develop and implement a model for sustainable funding to provide a secure financial base on which to continue to deliver its objectives and also develop its priority areas.