ARG Group

    Who we are

    The Anthrozoology Research Group (ARG) includes post-doctoral researchers and research students interested in studying the relationships between humans and other animals. ARG is lead by Pauleen Bennett, associate professor in the School of Psychological Science at the Bendigo campus of La Trobe University, in Victoria, Australia. Some members of ARG are based at La Trobe University, though others are at Monash University, where Pauleen previously taught. The group is affiliated with the Animal Welfare Science Centre, and members’ backgrounds are diverse: ranging from psychology and social science to animal behaviour, biological sciences, zoology and veterinary science. We are all animal lovers, but we represent a number of countries, age groups and lifestyle choices.

    For information about individual ARG members, visit our Members page.

    What we do

    Anthrozoology is the study of human (anthro) and animal (zoo) relationships. Although such study can include wildlife, zoo animals, farmed animals, etc., our members focus primarily on companion animals. Australia has one of the highest rates of companion animal ownership in the world. Nearly two-thirds of us live with one or more companion animals, and for many of us, these relationships are extremely important. When inter-species relationships work, they can provide terrific health and well-being benefits for both humans and animals. But when they fail, humans and animals alike can suffer. The Anthrozoology Research Group uses a multidisciplinary approach to learn more about what makes our relationships with companion animals succeed—we then use our findings to make life better for everyone, whether two-legged or more.

    Why we do this

    Three main reasons drive our interest in understanding and improving human-companion animal relationships.

    • We are committed to improving human health. People who have good relationships with other animals are healthier and happier, and animals can also help better the lives of disadvantaged people.
    • We are committed to improving animal welfare. Companion animals who have positive relationships with their caregivers generally have much better welfare than those who don’t.
    • We are concerned about the health of our planet. We believe that by promoting good relationships between people and the natural world, including companion animals, we can foster a stronger sense of respect and responsibility for our broader environment.

    As you’ll find throughout this site, our research takes us in many different directions. However, no matter what our focus, these three factors greatly influence our approach.