Who we are
The Anthrozoology Research Group (ARG) includes post-doctoral researchers and research students interested in studying the relationship between humans and other animals. ARG is led by Pauleen Bennett, Associate Professor in the School of Psychological Science at the Bendigo campus of La Trobe University, in Victoria, Australia. The background of ARG members is diverse, ranging from psychology and social science, to animal behaviour, biological science, zoology, and veterinary science. We are all animal lovers, with members representing a number of countries, age ranges, and lifestyle choices.
The Anthrozoology Research Group is affiliated with the Animal Welfare Science Centre, and our research is well represented at international conferences such as the International Society for Anthrozoology and the Canine Science Forum.
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, and farmed animals, 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 interspecies relationships work, they can provide terrific health and wellbeing 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 will 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.