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Tuesday, 05 July 2016 16:50

The Top Three Events We’re Watching This July

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1. 2016 Conference of the International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ)

logo-verticalWhere: Barcelona, Spain
When: 7-10 July
Why: This ISAZ conference focuses on exploring human-animal interactions using a multidisciplinary approach from behavioral and social sciences. While animals are a huge part of daily human life, this has traditionally been overlooked by academic circles and not deemed a topic worth exploring. This is beginning to change however, with more conferences and work being undertaken to understand human-animal interactions. This conference is focusing on the concept of empathy in the study of these interactions, the concept of protected values in these interactions, and understanding cultural views on animals.

This type of work, while seemingly far from the real world problems of animal protection, can form a useful backbone for policy work. For example, in the state of Massachusetts and elsewhere in the U.S. it is argued that coyotes should be “culled” as they are a particular threat to pet owners. However, my own graduate research found that the values and cultural understanding of pet owners meant that they were more favorable to coyotes, and more likely to oppose coyote culls than the general population, essentially negating this common claim from wildlife agencies. The more we learn about cultural values and human-animal relationships, the more we can educate and reform policies to create a more humane world.

2. Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics Summer School 2016: The Ethics of Eating Animals

Where: Oxford, UK
When: 24-27 July
Why: This annual summer school hosted by Oxford University’s Centre for Animal Ethics is focused on, well, eating animals. Speakers will explore animal-eating from a variety of perspectives, including historical, moral, cultural, and practical (including climate change and abuse of animals and workers in animal protection), and strategies for change. We are encouraged by the speaker line-up and be the breadth and depth of work being done in this field by researchers from institutions around the world!

3. CARE Conference – Conference on Animal Rights in Europe

Where: Warsaw, Poland
When: 29-31 July
Why: What struck us about this conference, beyond the fact that it is hosted in a region not traditionally highly represented in the animal protection movement, is this statement about the event:

“The last but not least of our goals is to foster solidarity with new organizations that are entering the animal rights movement. We want to empower activists from Eastern Europe and all other countries which do not have a long history of animal advocacy. When factory farmers are moving to new countries and markets, we need to ensure that the animal rights movement is moving there as well.”

We feel that this statement reflects our own mission here at WAN—to foster communication and coalition-building and to empower advocacy organizations around the world to be more effective and strategic in their work. We can’t wait to see what’s next for Open Cages, the organization behind the conference!

Are there events we should have listed this July? Be sure to add them to the calendar by registering them!

Jessica Bridgers

Jessica is the Executive Director at World Animal Net. Having received a B.S. in biology with minors in chemistry and anthropology from the University of New Mexico, she combines a scientific background with a passion for animal protection. She completed her M.S. in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts University and internships with Humane Society International, Animal Protection of New Mexico, and the New England Anti-Vivisection Society before arriving at World Animal Net. In her free time, she volunteers with horse and wildlife rescues. 


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