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Abstract

Emerging research regarding the psychological correlates of nonhuman animal abuse is warranted by the high prevalence of abuse. The few studies to examine factors related to animal abuse have found that those who commit such offenses commonly experience dysfunctional childhoods and high anxiety levels. Yet, no study has examined how attachment styles (by-products of maladaptive childhoods), social-anxiety, and animal abuse proclivity are inter-related. Therefore, this study assessed the association between attachment styles and social anxiety as indicators of animal abuse proclivity within an adult sample. It was found that an anxious attachment significantly correlated with direct proclivity (i.e., animal as the perceived provocateur) while the relationship between social anxiety and indirect animal abuse proclivity (i.e., animal as the outlet for aggression) was mediated by avoidant attachment. These findings emphasize the importance of exploring how interpersonal relationships influence our relationship with animals, to advance treatment and assessment of animal abusers.

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

Similar to other commodities, US sport horses have increasingly been outsourced. The sport horse commodity chain is a long process involving many actors. The data presented document a shift away from US-born horses to those born in Europe. Since the 1980s, the American sport horse market has become a global market. Over $300 million dollars in horses are imported into the United States, and over a third comes from Germany. These foreign horses have uprooted the domestic supply of sport horses, who were US-born ex-racehorses. This research relies on import data to document the transition from a domestic market to a global market. This transformation has wide-reaching implications for the equestrian industry in the US. Through analysis of import statistics, content analysis, and participant observation, data are presented that illustrate how equestrian show jumping changed as a result of the dependence on European supplies of horses.

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

Evidence suggests equine-assisted activities may provide psychological benefits to young people “at-risk.” Results are presented from an equine program among 14- to 16-year-old children (N = 7), mostly boys (N = 6), attending a non-traditional flexi-school in Australia. Thematic analyses were undertaken on observations by facilitators, researchers, and a school teacher, and interviews with a school teacher. Key themes suggest that program participants benefited from positive engagement, social connectedness, and increased confidence, relationships, and attachment. Mechanisms were identified as a desire and an ability to connect with the horse and a positive environment. The social context of the equine program contrasts with other contexts in these young people’s lives, which allowed them to engage through more positive relational, affectionate behavior. For the boys, positive rather than damaging masculine behavior was displayed. Furthermore, the compatible student-environment interactions provide a backdrop which makes other positive changes possible.

In: Society & Animals
In: Society & Animals

Abstract

People who live with pets (companion animals) in many cases see their pets as family members. Yet, in the eyes of the law, pets are still considered personal property. This is relevant to pet custody matters that may arise at the time of divorce or separation; pets fall within divorce financial proceedings. However, they have the unique nature of living and sentient property, which has interests. In this perspective, the best interest of the nonhuman animal should always be taken into account. Nonetheless, the law lacks definitive standards, and the ways in which courts construe contractual disputes involving nonhuman animals that relate to custody disputes in marital or other relationships do not always take into consideration the unique nature of this living and sentient property. This article provides an examination of the current Italian legal system and of Italian case law related to this matter.

In: Society & Animals
In: Society & Animals

Abstract

Mitchell (2016) proposes shared stories and religious background are unimportant to hiker spiritual experience on John Muir National Trail, USA. This study analyzes surveys from 265 volunteer day-hikes in three settings: urban, suburban natural area, and wildland; representing three modes of hiking: goal-directed, nature observation, and meditative. Overall, setting produced more statistically significant differences (22 of 25) among locale descriptors than the mode did (3 of 25). Sacred was more closely associated with descriptors of lack of human presence, than those related to biodiversity. Association of the sacred with higher elevations and mountain wildlands rather than with wetlands implies a pre-existing shared story. Nature oriented and meditative hiking accentuated perception of values, such as educational, humbling, sacred and wondrous, providing evidence that religious practice influences hiker perception. Suburban natural areas, which are more accessible to urban residents than wildlands, received ratings competing with wildlands in terms of personal benefits.

In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

Abstract

This study aims to increase understanding of whether spiritual dimensions of nature experiences are connected to sustainability by examining the relationship between yoga, sensory awareness, and pro-environmental behavior among comparative groups of yoga and non-yoga practitioners in South Florida. According to affective and perceptual theories of human environmental care, the heightened perception of and attention to one’s natural environment through enhanced sensory awareness that yoga practitioners describe experiencing should engender a closer inclination to nature and its protection, as measured by pro-environmental acts. South Florida yoga practitioners describe increased sensory awareness after yoga, yet they practiced common natural resources protective actions like recycling and reducing fossil fuel use no more frequently than their non-yoga counterparts. Practitioners’ other yoga-based and meditation-enhanced spiritual experiences like non-evaluation and non-attachment to physical and mental phenomena, as well as yoga’s inward self-focus on the physical body, may divert aspirants from proactive environmental behavior.

In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

Abstract

A growing number of texts that address the history of the animal protection movement in the United States point to the importance of a document written in 1866 by ASPCA founder Henry Bergh and signed by dozens of influential supporters entitled the “Declaration of the Rights of Animals.” This article pursues the discussions and the bibliographical matter found in these texts along with other likely sources in which the “Declaration” or discussion of it might appear, and comes to the conclusion that no such document exists. In lieu of the “Declaration,” the article locates its origins in a very different document, traces the trajectory that led to that document being viewed in the terms currently ascribed to it, and emphasizes the impact that the presence or absence of such a groundbreaking document as the “Declaration” has on our understanding of the history and evolution of the animal protection movement.

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

Since 2008, rabies has killed several thousand semi-feral dogs in Bali, but hundreds of thousands of dogs have been killed by government officials to control the disease, which continues to spread. This article tracks this rabies outbreak and the efforts to contain the disease, noting frictions that emerged between officials and animal welfare activists. The former depict the dogs as a nuisance that should be exterminated, while the latter showcase the dogs’ cultural and scientific importance. This biopolitical contest hinges on formulations of animality that position dogs in opposition to humans. Rabies complicates this conflict, as it not only violates human/nonhuman animal boundaries, rendering both human and nonhuman communities vulnerable to infection, but also transforms those who are infected into radically animal (violent, unreasonable, frothing) individuals. By rethinking animality via rabies, we may better recognize and counter articulations of animality that render vulnerable populations killable.

In: Society & Animals