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Anthrozoology Student Presents at International Conference

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Congratulations to junior anthrozoology major Sara Jane Melancon, who has been chosen to present her research entitled: The Donkey Problem: a review of donkey history and research as it relates to their use in donkey assisted therapy, at the Anthrozoology as International Practice (AIP) online student conference organized by PhD students from the Exeter Anthrozoology as Symbiotic Ethics Working Group (EASE) on March 4-5, 2021.  The theme of the conference is ‘Emerging Voices’ and they welcome presentations from students and early career researchers in anthrozoology and related fields. This conference aims to spotlight research being undertaken by students around the world, in the hopes of building a global support network.

Abstract:
The current research body on Equus asinus is lacking in all areas which is a significant disservice to the donkey as a species. Despite the lack of research donkeys continue to be used for a variety of tasks, which include therapeutic purposes. Before the ethics of using donkeys in therapy can be assessed to the degree it deserves, a proper body of research on the donkey species must be available. Donkeys have been utilized extensively throughout human history and this history informs why current donkey literature is lacking. This study is a literature analysis examining current research on donkey history, physical and mental health, donkey assisted therapy, and ethics. Each area is examined to understand what future research should be conducted to inform the welfare of the donkey generally, and even more extensively as it relates to donkey assisted therapy. The analysis of literature attempts to determine what research should be conducted before considering donkeys for use in therapy. While the donkey is the focus of this research, some ethical considerations for humans are also explored in an attempt to completely address the need for research on donkeys through the lens of donkey-assisted therapy. 

Anthrozoology as International Practice (AIP) Online Conference:
The theme of our conference is ‘Emerging Voices’ and we welcome presentations from students and early career researchers in anthrozoology and related fields (such as human-animal studies, natural sciences, or philosophy). This conference aims to spotlight research being undertaken by students around the world, in the hopes of building a global support network.