The Social Impact of the Human-Animal Bond

The Social Impact of the Human-Animal Bond

Dr Roger Haston (view profile)

Animals have always played an important role in humane existence, going as far back as 30,000 years ago when dogs and humans first started a mutual relationship centered around hunting and security. For much of history, animals have been viewed as simply utilitarian tools to further a benefit for humans. However, as our understanding of animals has grown, we have come to understand that from dogs to fish, these are sentient beings that possess complex behaviors, emotions and awareness that have challenged the utilitarian view.

Companion animals are now becoming deeply important parts of human existence that goes far beyond an owner-property relationship. This evolution is very much epitomized by the popular culture of cartoon characterizations. In the 1940s we had Snoopy who had almost no interaction with the human experience. In 2010 we have Brian Griffin from “The Family Guy” who sits on the couch watching TV drinking a martini.

In this session we will explore the evolution of our understanding of the human animal bond, it’s impact on individuals and its broader impact on society as a whole. We will look at some of the positive and negative aspects of our ever increasingly humanized experience with animals; from therapy to public safety, animals are now a shaping force in how our societies act and behave.