The Study of Human-Animal InteractionsCAIRC and the IAHAIOActivities of IAHAIO
IAHAIO Mission
To promote research, education and sharing of information about human-animal interaction and the unique role that animals play in human well-being and quality of life.
Goal One
To promote new research, educational and practical development in the field of human-animal interaction

  • Improvements in the quality and quantity of our common body of knowledge
  • More people will benefit from the increased knowledge and programmes in human-animal interaction
  • More animals will benefit from attention to their well-being in interaction activities
  • A faster and more effective transfer of information from developed to less-developed parts of the world, eventually leading to a global consensus on the unique role of animals in human well-being and quality of life

  • Peer-reviewed international conferences
  • Regional conferences, workshops and seminars
  • Peer-reviewed publications
  • Other publications such as White Papers, etc.
  • Awards to recognise excellence and achievements in our field
Goal Two
To provide a forum for sharing ideas and information between IAHAIO member organisations.

  • Improved effectiveness of member organisations by:
    -sharing information from past and current projects, to encourage and  facilitate the development of similar and new programmes
    -developing opportunities for joint activities between member organisations

  • Exchange forums at annual meetings
  • Use of published information from other member organisations after written permission has -been obtained
  • Links between IAHAIO's and its members' websites
Goal Three
To educate policy makers at local, national and international levels about the benefits of human-animal interaction.

  • Positive policies to integrate animals into human society
  • Recognition of IAHAIO as the official international non-governmental organisation (NGO) in its field by organisations such as the U.N., WHO, UNESCO, etc.
  • Enhanced status of IAHAIO members with policy makers in their own countries
  • Political and financial support for human-animal interaction programmes of IAHAIO members and other organisations sharing our goals in this field

  • Official IAHAIO declarations, resolutions and guidelines
  • Responses to government position papers and legislative proposals
  • Educational efforts by IAHAIO officers and member organisations, through:
    -personal contact with policy makers
    -letters to and publications directed at policy makers
    -publicity to gain public support for positive human-animal interaction policies
Recent research is demonstrating the various benefits of companion animals to people's well-being, personal growth, and quality of life.

In order to enable their presence and ensure the harmonious companionship of animals in our lives, owners, and governments both have duties and responsibilities.

IAHAIO members have adopted five fundamental resolutions at their General Assembly,held in Geneva on 5 September 1995. IAHAIO urges all international bodies concerned and all national governments to consider and activate the following resolutions.

1. To acknowledge the universal non-discriminatory right to pet ownership in all places and reasonable circumstances, if the pet is properly cared for and does not contravene the rights of non-pet owners.
2. To take appropriate steps to ensure that the human environment is planned and designed to take the special needs and characteristics of pets and their owners into account.
3. To encourage the regulated presence of companion animals in schools and school curricula, and to work to convince teachers and educators of the benefits of this presence through appropriate training programmes.
4. To ensure regulated companion animals access into hospitals, retirement and nursing homes and other centres for the care of people of all ages who are in need of such contact.
5. To officially recognize as valid therapeutic interventions those animals that are specifically trained to help people overcome the limitations of disabilities; to foster the development of programs to produce such animals; and to ensure that education about the range of capabilities of these animals is included in the basic training of the health and social service professions.

There is much research now available to prove that companion animals can add to the Quality of Life of the humans to whom they may provide practical assistance or therapy.

IAHAIO members believe that those who train animals and deliver the service to others must ensure the Quality of Life of the animals involved. Programmes offering animal-assisted activities or animal-assisted therapy for the benefit of others should be governed by basic standards, regularly monitored, and be staffed by appropriately trained personnel.

IAHAIO members have therefore adopted four fundamental guidelines at their General Assembly held in Prague in September, 1998. IAHAIO urges all persons and organizations involved in animal-assisted activities and/or animal-assisted therapy, and all bodies governing the presence of such programmes in their facilities to consider and abide by the following points.

1. Only domestic animals which have been trained using techniques of positive reinforcement, and which have been, and will continue to be, properly housed and cared for, are involved.
2. Safeguards are in place to prevent adverse effects on the animals involved.
3. The involvement of assistance and/or therapy animals is potentially beneficial in each case.
4. Basic standards are in place to ensure safety, risk management, physical and emotional security, health, basic trust and freedom of choice, personal space, appropriate allocation of programme resources, appropriate workload clearly defined roles, confidentiality, communication systems and training provision for all persons involved.

Organizations adhering to the above four guidelines will be invited to join IAHAIO as Affiliate Members.

The IAHAIO Rio Declaration on Pets in Schools
Given the strong evidence that has accumulated in recent years demonstrating the value, to children and juveniles. of social relationships with companion animals it is important that children be taught proper and safe behaviour towards those animals and the correct care, handling and treatment of the various companion animal species.

Realising that companion animals in school curricula encourage the moral, spiritual and personal development of each child, bring social benefits to the school community and enhance opportunities for learning in many different areas of the school curriculum, IAHAIO members have adopted fundamental guidelines on pets in schools at their General Assembly, held in Rio de Janeiro in September 2001.

IAHAIO urges all school authorities and teachers, as well as all persons and organisations involved in pet programmes for schools, to consider and abide by the following guidelines:

1. Programmes about companion animals should, at some point, allow personal contact with such animals in the classroom setting. Depending on school regulations and facilities, these animals will :
a) be kept, under suitable conditions, on the premises, or
b) be brought to school by the teacher, or
c) come to visit, in the context of a visiting programme, together with their owners, or
d) accompany, as a service dog, a child with special needs.
2. Any programme involving personal contact between children and companion animals must ensure:
a) that the animals involved are
safe (specially selected and/or trained),
healthy (as attested by a veterinarian),
prepared for the school environment (e.g. socialized to children, adjusted to travel in the case of visiting animals),
properly housed (either in the classroom or while at home), and
always under supervision of a knowledgeable adult (either the teacher or the owner);
b) that safety, health and feelings of each child in the class are respected.
3. Prior to the acquisition of classroom animals or visitation of the class by programme personnel with companion animals that meet the above criteria, both school authorities and parents must be informed and convinced of the value of such encounters.
4. Precise learning objectives must be defined and should include:
a) enhancement of knowledge and learning motivation in various areas of the school curriculum
b) encouragement of respect and of a sense of responsibility for other life forms
c) consideration of each child's expressive potential and involvement.
5. The safety and well-being of the animals involved must be guaranteed at all times.