As expected, I can see an increase in using “anthrozoology” by individuals without proper education and a complete misunderstanding of this field. It is being used only for social, political, economic and other personal human interests. Why do we do it? Because we can.
Anthrozoology is the study of the relationship and interaction between human and non-human species, involving different areas of the natural and social sciences. It’s not about the benefits of non-humans to humans.
My field in anthrozoology, since 2008 (I am a “solitary knight” in this specific field so far), is the behavior modification (popular “training”) in companion animals. I study and research, mostly in-person, the interactions with humans and them. Then, I create statistics, models and update the earlier ones in order to have a precise approach to specific situations. I complement my studies with other fields and researches.
As a person educated in the area that daily study, research, and create scientific/empiric models in animal training to inform the people adequately, I will not follow the current “one-side” benefits.
I will always defend that all subjects and studies should be impartial and serious, whether or not the results are reliable for humans. Future research should not focus on the benefits from A to B (or vice versa), but the short, medium, and long-term consequences of these activities for both A and B respecting the scientific model integrally.
This view is because of the almost inexistence of studies on the harmful effects for non-human animals of their use for social, therapeutic and sporting activities. The few studies that exist at the moment are mostly with inconclusive results that “require further research.” Coincidentally (or not), some studies follow the popular market, the social trends and, with a quick search, we found that third parties involved in these areas sponsor them.
I’m afraid that anthrozoology is losing its scientific line and following a commercial line. It would be a dangerous path that we humans are building.
Critical Animal Studies- A threat?
Critical animal studies (CAS) is an interdisciplinary scientific field and theory-to-activism global community, which originated at the beginning of the 21st century. The core interest of CAS is ethical reflection on relations between people and other animals, firmly grounded in intersectionality and anarchism. Its aim is to integrate academic research with political engagement and activism. As it overlaps with a number of other disciplines, CAS includes scholars from a diverse range of fields, as well as animal rights activists. (Wikipedia)
Is CAS a threat to anthrozoology?
I don’t think. CAS is one more approach/view on this “adolescent” field in our human societies.
Like everything in our life, balance is needed. I would say that we shouldn’t elitise these areas, nor create extremes. We need reflection, discussion and a properly argumentation.
The future of non-human animals in our societies depends on our actions and decisions.
The obsession with defending something cannot misrepresent scientific reality, nor should science be an instrument for such.
The right choice? I believe we are still very far from knowing. Thus, less clash and more debate is important.
Please, be critical on this subject, always ask that people for their education and experience in the area, read the studies and articles carefully (including the sponsorships and related references), and think out of the crowd.