ISAZ 2018 Conference: Animals in Our Lives

Author: Dr Anthony Podberscek, The University of Sydney


From 2nd to 5th July, 2018, the International Society for Anthrozoology held its annual conference in Sydney, Australia. I was one of the organizers, along with Dr Pauleen Bennett (LaTrobe University) and Dr Bradley Smith (Central Queensland University). Anthrozoology is the study of human–animal interaction, a multidisciplinary field, and the conference certainly covered many disciplines: anthropology, history, psychology, philosophy, sociology, medicine, veterinary science, and more.

There were seven fantastic plenary talks: “Dogs helping people in families, hospitals, colleges, and at work” (Sandra Barker); “Managing human–wildlife interactions: Conflicts and communication” (Neil Jordan); “Cultural connections: Understanding the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and animals, and the implications for delivery of dog health and community wellbeing programs in these communication” (Christine Ross and Ted Donelan); “Animals on screens: Thinking critically about animals, audiences and empathy” (Claire Parkinson); “Human–animal interactions in zoos: Balancing urban biophilia with species conservation” (Vicky Melfi); “Animals like us: Self and identity within the furry and therian communities” (Courtney Plante). As well, there were over 90 oral presentations, over 50 posters, and 11 symposia: a very full programme! People interested in animal welfare science, ethics and law would have found much to delight them: there were talks on the welfare of assistance animals, one welfare, farm animals, captive animals, ethics, and human–wildlife conflict.

A podcast of Sandra Barker’s plenary can be heard at:

The abstract book can be downloaded for free HERE.