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Komalsingh Rambaree and Stefan Sjöberg

Abstract

Despite a growing number of studies on human–animal interactions, empirical data focusing on companion animals within the context of health-promoting work-life are still limited. This article presents an analysis and discussion based on the perceptions of 22 students and staff from the University of Gävle in Sweden on the potential of companion animals for supportive functions in health-promoting work-life, as well as on the possible challenges of having companion animals on the premises of the University. Based on the findings, this article proposes that companion animals can indeed play vital supportive functions in health-promoting work-life, which are presented in the text as “forcing function,” “communication companion,” and “social skills.” However, this article also highlights the socio-economic, legal, and organizational challenges that need to be carefully considered and worked out for having companion animals in the workplace, such as in a university.

Andrea Gilroy, Sheridan Linnell, Tarquam McKenna and Jill Westwood

Helen Sampson

Abstract

This paper explores some of the different relationships that horses and humans experience in the case study country of Wales. In doing so, it pays attention to differential patterns of equine care/lack of care and explores these from a sociological perspective considering evidence of the potential impact of cultural practices and socio-economic status in particular. The paper concludes that access to common lands and “fly grazing” may be associated with specific values and norms which may result in equine neglect, while indicators of socio-economic deprivation and patterns of equine neglect do not seem to be related. The paper highlights the variation in equine care across this relatively small national population and suggests some areas where further explanatory work could usefully be undertaken in order for us to better understand the care-relationships between horses and their keepers.

Jennifer Carter and Clark Scott Taylor

Abstract

There is a critical need to reduce the surrender rates of companion animals by understanding the socio-economic circumstances of caretakers. This research analyzed questionnaires with 117 relinquishers and 13 interviews. Interviews were conducted with relinquishers and staff at Sunshine Coast Animal Refuge Society and Sunshine Coast Animal Pound. Most companion animals relinquished were from litters and around half were de-sexed and micro-chipped. A caretaker’s living situation was a critical reason for relinquishment. Humans need to understand the time and space needs of companion species, how these might change with time, and the relationality between humans and companion animals. Alongside regulated breeding and accessible sterilization, shelter staff and other organizations might offer more tailored solutions, especially temporary care, during times of socio-economic crisis. Fundamentally, individuals need to critically examine their commitment to caretaking, but solutions are also structural and should be tailored to the underpinning socio-economic geography of different regions.

Deer Who Are Distant

Response Congruency to Relative Pronouns Across Human and Nonhuman Entities

Denise Dillon and Josephine Pang

Abstract

The study explores the influence of relative pronouns who or that on attributions of humanness across four categories of entities (unnamed nonhuman animals, named animals, machines, and people). Eighty-three university students performed an attribution task where they saw a priming phrase containing one category item with either who or that (e.g., deer who are …) and then two trait attribute items (Uniquely Human uh/Human Nature hn word pairs; e.g., distant-nervous), from which they selected the trait attribute most meaningfully suited to the phrase. Data were analyzed with a repeated measures 2 (humanness: hn traits, uh traits) × 2 (pronoun: who, that) × 4 (category: unnamed animals, named animals, machines, people) anova. Participants responded relatively faster to hn trait attributes than to uh traits, and responded faster to named animals than to all other entities. Faster responses also ensued for people-who pairings than people-that pairings, and vice versa for named animals.

Purple Swamphen or Gallinule (Porphyrio porphyrio) and Humans

Forgotten History of Past Interactions

Ricardo Jorge Lopes, Juan Antonio Gomez, Alessandro Andreotti and Maura Andreoni

Our knowledge of the historical use of nonhuman animal species in captivity and subsequent human-induced changes in their distribution is poor in comparison to contemporary case studies. Here we assess the hypothesis that, in the case of one waterbird species, the purple swamphen or gallinule (Porphyrio porphyrio), we have neglected the high probability that people transported these birds within the Mediterranean, from Roman to recent times. In ancient iconographies, literary sources, and more recent records there is ample evidence for the use of this species in captivity, captive-breeding, and for trade during several historical periods, especially within the Mediterranean region. All this evidence supports the hypothesis that released or escaped birds might have hybridized with other populations living in the wild. This case study stresses the importance of taking into account past human activity when interpreting contemporary distributional patterns of species.

Charlotte N. L. Chambers and Michelle E. Main

Abstract

This article explores different dynamics and spatialities of nonhuman animal encounters to illuminate important intersections between place and human-animal relations. The article focuses on Sirocco the Kakapo, an endangered New Zealand parrot, who due to illness as a chick was hand-reared in isolation from other Kakapo. Informed by qualitative research, data was gathered through interviewing those involved in the Kakapo Recovery Programme and from Internet websites and publications featuring Sirocco. Based on this research, it can be demonstrated how Sirocco, unlike his fellow Kakapo, is a bird who can traverse the seemingly clear-cut and spatially inscribed boundaries between “wild” and “tame,” between “human” and “animal,” and between “wild” and “domestic” places. Drawing upon relational theories of space and place in human geography, the case of Sirocco is used to interrogate and inform theorizations concerning the place of nonhuman animals in both spatial and conceptual terms. Sirocco’s story illuminates the complex and heterogeneous relations of encounter that stretch between New Zealand’s wild and domestic places, which in turn rely upon particular notions of wild and tame and prescribed relations between humans and “wild animals” that inhere in conservation practice more broadly.

Koen Beumer

Abstract

Humans and rats relate to each other in a variety of ways. Consider the different ways that humans relate to rats in the sewer, the laboratory, and the living room: depending on the location of the encounter, human-rat relations can be characterized as hostile, instrumental, or friendly. Rather than searching for a single human-animal relation, this article suggests that the multiple and contradictory relations between humans and nonhuman animals deserve an explanation. The article argues that the multiplicity of human-animal relations can be better understood by approaching them as situated practices: as practical and precarious accomplishments that take place in specific settings. This approach is applied to the relation between humans and fancy rats. By studying how humans in particular settings come to befriend the same animal that is simultaneously despised and feared as dirty and treacherous when encountered elsewhere, the article shows how these relationships emerge as enactments of situated practices.