Category Archives: anthrozoology

Multi-cultural perspectives towards the use of animals in medical research

Many people regard animal-based medical research as justifiable because of medical and social benefits that may come from it, yet little evidence is available to support this view. According to the 3Rs (replacement, refinement, and reduction) seeking alternatives that both minimize adverse effects on and improve the welfare of experimental animals needs more attention. Public attitudes toward animal-based medical research may be an important variable in directing the discussion of laboratory animal welfare.

The present study, therefore, investigated public attitudes toward laboratory animals in medical research, ranging from endangered
wild animals (e.g., chimpanzees, dolphins), farm animals (e.g., cows, pigs), companion animals (e.g., dogs, cats) to some typical laboratory animals (e.g., rats, insects). These attitudes are then discussed from the perspective of East Asian and Anglo-American cultures.

Our results demonstrate that people with a higher ‘compassion to animals’ score have a more welfare-oriented attitude toward animal-based medical research. This indicates that people’s concern for animal welfare is inherent to challenging animal-based medical research. However, using animals in medical research helps to save humans’ lives, which can generate a moral conflict for individuals who disagree with animal use . More generally, the awareness of both animal welfare and the need for medical breakthroughs may promote efforts to seek alternatives (e.g., computer models, artificial animals) to replace animal usage, which, to some extent, could alleviate the conflict of values between medical progress and animal use. However, a growing number of people challenges or refutes animal-based research, independent of their nationalities and cultures.

Read the full paper here: Su, B., Zhang, C. & Martens, P. (2021). Attitudes in China, Japan, and the Netherlands toward the use of animals in medical research. Anthrozoos.

New book: Human-Animal Relationships in Transformation

The ethics of human/animal relationships is a growing field of academic research and a topic for public discussion and regulatory interventions from law-makers, governments and private institutions. Human/animal relationships are in transformation and understanding the nature of this process is crucial for all those who believe that the enlargement of moral and legal recognition to nonhuman animals is part of contemporary moral and political progress. Understanding the nature of this process means analysing and critically discussing the philosophical, scientific and legal concepts and arguments embedded in it. This book contributes to the discussion by bringing together the ideas and reflections of leading experts from different disciplinary backgrounds and with a range of scientific perspectives. Furthermore, this book both provides an up-to-date examination of the transformation of human/animal relationships and presents ideas to foster this process.

See our contribution here: Martens, P. & Su, B. (2022). Perceiving Animals Through Different Demographic and Cultural Lenses. In: Human/Animal Relationships in Transformation: Scientific, Moral and Legal Perspectives. Vitale, A. & Pollo, S. (eds.). Palgrave Macmillan, p. 93-118.

Do religious beliefs influence concerns for animal welfare?

Animals—specifically, beliefs and attitudes towards them—have a central role within the field of human-animal relationships, animal welfare, ecological belief and sustainability. However, there are limited studies on the relationship between religious belief and public attitudes toward animals, and the role religion plays regarding attitudes towards animals is as yet still unclear.

This study explores the relationship between individuals’ acceptability for harming animals as one representation of ecological concern (measured using Animal Issue Scale (AIS)) and their religious belief (measured using Religious Orientation Scale (ROS)) and ethical ideology (measured using Ethical Position Questionnaire (EPQ)). The study surveyed 929 Muslim teachers and school staff in East Java, Indonesia.

The present study highlights the significant relationship between religious orientation and relativism to AIS. Regarding relativism, the results imply that individuals who believe in a universal governing moral principle are more likely to have a higher awareness of animal protection, and, therefore, a lower acceptability toward harming animals. For religious orientation, results imply that individuals who have deep personal religious belief and commitment to their religion would likely have a low acceptability for harming animals. However, when people have extra ulterior motives of for pursuing social gain, status, affiliation, or membership with their religious activities participation, it would be more likely that they have a higher acceptability for harming animals. Thus, the present study not only supports previous findings, but also contributes to addressing religious orientation as a significant variable closely related to attitudes towards animals.

In addition, the present study extends the potential for animal protection awareness to reach broader platforms, for example, in the case where religious values and institutions could serve as motivational platforms. Finally, as this is the first paper to investigate how both religious orientation and ethical ideology relates to animal protection, other research focusing on specific animals such as companion animals, carnivores, or animals important to maintaining ecosystem health for environmental sustainability, may be introduced as focal points in religious studies and related platforms.

Read the full paper here: Pasaribu, D., Martens, P. & Takwin, B. (2021). Do religious beliefs influence concerns for animal welfare? The role of religious orientation and ethical ideologies in attitudes toward animal protection amongst Muslim teachers and school staff in East Java, Indonesia. PLoS ONE, 16(7).

Webinar: Indigenous and Religious Views on Animals and Nature

Webinar Wednesday April 14 6.30-8.30 pm CET

Our relationship with the natural environment and animals has changed dramatically over time. In this webinar, we will discuss past patterns and future pathways with representatives of various indigenous cultures and religious beliefs. Learning from them about our relationship with animals may be a way we can begin to address the sustainability challenges we see today.

This webinar is free of charge, but you need to register by sending an email before 10th April to marjolijn.staarink@vu.nl. The link for the webinar will then be sent to you in due time.

Program

18.30-19.15 Introduction and movie ‘Animals Are Running Away From Us’ by Pim Martens

19.15-19.30 Ruth Valerio – Canon Theologian Rochester Cathedral

19.30-19.45 Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq – Kalaallit Shaman from Greenland

19.45-20.00 Jayasinhji Jhala  – Hindu Prince

20.00-20.30 Discussion and Q&A

Indigenous and Religious Views on Animals (12): Interview Buddhist Non Chao-Hwei Shih

Interview with Buddhist master the venerable Chao-hwei Shih.

Our dominant current socio-economic and political systems have become decoupled from the larger ecology of life. Our relationship with the natural environment and animals has changed dramatically over time. My Fellowship ‘Ethics of the Anthropocene‘ (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) intends to discuss these past patterns and future pathways with representatives of various indigenous cultures and religious beliefs. Learning from them about our relationship with animals may be a way we can begin to address the sustainability challenges we see today.

Above the twelfth interview in this series.

See all interviews at the Words of Wisdom and project page.

Indigenous and Religious Views on Animals (11): Interview Greenland Shaman Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq

Interview with Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq from Kalaallit Nunaat, Greenland – shaman, traditional healer, storyteller and carrier of the Qilaut (winddrum).

Our dominant current socio-economic and political systems have become decoupled from the larger ecology of life. Our relationship with the natural environment and animals has changed dramatically over time. My Fellowship ‘Ethics of the Anthropocene‘ (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) intends to discuss these past patterns and future pathways with representatives of various indigenous cultures and religious beliefs. Learning from them about our relationship with animals may be a way we can begin to address the sustainability challenges we see today.

Above the eleventh interview in this series. More interviews will follow!

See all interviews at the Words of Wisdom and project page.

Indigenous and Religious Views on Animals (10): Interview Islamic Poet and Dawah worker Khaleel Ur Rehman Chishti

Interview with Khaleel Ur Rehman Chishti, Islamic Researcher, Lecturer, Poet and Dawah worker.

Our dominant current socio-economic and political systems have become decoupled from the larger ecology of life. Our relationship with the natural environment and animals has changed dramatically over time. My Fellowship ‘Ethics of the Anthropocene‘ (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) intends to discuss these past patterns and future pathways with representatives of various indigenous cultures and religious beliefs. Learning from them about our relationship with animals may be a way we can begin to address the sustainability challenges we see today.

Above the tenth interview in this series. More interviews will follow!

See all interviews at the Words of Wisdom and project page.

Nieuw centrum wil dieren serieus nemen

In de natuurwetenschappen worden dieren als objecten bestudeerd, en in de sociale- en de geesteswetenschappen staat de mens centraal. Het nieuwe Centrum voor DierMens Studies wil in de wetenschap meer aandacht voor de relatie tussen beide, waarbij ook dieren als actieve, sociale en intelligente individuen worden beschouwd.

Mede-oprichter en voorzitter Maarten Reesink (wetenschapper DierMens Studies):

“In de wetenschap worden dieren bijna alleen gezien al interessant onderwerp voor de biologie, en verder meestal als objecten gezien of gebruikt. Terwijl in onze mensenmaatschappij dieren juist overal aanwezig zijn: als huisgenoten, werkdieren en als voedsel, in films, op tv en in onze populaire cultuur, in dierentuinen en in het wild. In DierMens Studies staan al die vormen van contact tussen mens en dier centraal. Waarbij dieren niet worden gezien als gebruiksvoorwerpen of decorstukken in onze mensenmaatschappij, maar als gelijkwaardige medebewoners van deze wereld.”

In januari 2021 is het Centrum voor DierMens Studies opgericht door onderzoekers en studenten van de Universiteit van Amsterdam. Door het interdisciplinaire vakgebied DierMens Studies te promoten wil het Centrum een brug slaan tussen natuurwetenschappen en sociale- en geesteswetenschappen. Het Centrum is een platform voor wetenschappers en studenten aan alle Nederlandse universiteiten die zich bezighouden met de vele relaties tussen mens en dier. Iedereen die is geïnteresseerd in onze band met (andere) dieren kan er terecht voor informatie, wetenschappelijke publicaties en onderwijsaanbod.

Op deze manier vraagt het Centrum academische aandacht voor de plaats van dieren in de maatschappij, en biedt het een netwerk voor de groei van het internationale vakgebied (Human) Animal Studies in Nederland. Het centrum wil de groei van dit vakgebied in Nederland verder stimuleren en een brug slaan tussen universiteiten, onderzoekers, studenten en een breed publiek met een interesse in de relaties tussen mens en dier.

Naast het delen van kennis en het bieden van een platform en een netwerk, gaat het Centrum evenementen en netwerkbijeenkomsten organiseren.

Het Centrum voor DierMens Studies is opgericht door (oud-) UvA-studenten Caatje Kluskens en Fien Lindelauff in samenwerking met UvA-docent Human-Animal Studies Maarten Reesink en professors Leonie Cornips en Pim Martens van de Universiteit van Maastricht.

Meer informatie: https://www.diermensstudies.nl/

Indigenous and Religious Views on Animals (9): Interview Anishinabe Elder Solomon Wawatie

Interview with Solomon Wawatie, the Weasel of the Bear Clan, a faith keeper of his culture and elder of his community.

Our dominant current socio-economic and political systems have become decoupled from the larger ecology of life. Our relationship with the natural environment and animals has changed dramatically over time. My Fellowship ‘Ethics of the Anthropocene‘ (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) intends to discuss these past patterns and future pathways with representatives of various indigenous cultures and religious beliefs. Learning from them about our relationship with animals may be a way we can begin to address the sustainability challenges we see today.

Above the ninth interview in this series. More interviews will follow!

See all interviews at the Words of Wisdom and project page.

Indigenous and Religious Views on Animals (8): Interview Parakuiyo Maasai Leader Adam Kuleit Mwarabu

Interview with Adam Kuleit Mwarabu, Parakuiyo Maasai leader. He is an advocate in the areas of human rights, environment, culture, peace, and gender in the Parakuiyo community.

Our dominant current socio-economic and political systems have become decoupled from the larger ecology of life. Our relationship with the natural environment and animals has changed dramatically over time. My Fellowship ‘Ethics of the Anthropocene‘ (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) intends to discuss these past patterns and future pathways with representatives of various indigenous cultures and religious beliefs. Learning from them about our relationship with animals may be a way we can begin to address the sustainability challenges we see today.

Above the eight interview in this series. More interviews will follow!

See all interviews at the Words of Wisdom and project page.