terça-feira, 28 de julho de 2015

Human-animal interactions: a sustainable relationship?

by Pim Martens

If we look at the many sustainability indicators that have been developed over the years, it is striking to see that animal-wellbeing, also in the field of animal assisted interventions hardly plays a role. The reason that ‘animals’ and ‘sustainability’ are not often mentioned together in one sentence is likely to be found in the fact that the sustainability debate has been hijacked in recent years by industry and governments. Their view regarding sustainable development significantly has been subordinate to the dogma of economic growth with little regard for animal welfare. How shortsighted this is, has been illustrated by the various outbreaks of animal diseases in intensive farming, and the development of antibiotic resistance of many pathogens because our cattle are given too many antibiotics. These are just some examples, but it is increasingly clear that our own well-being is closely connected with the welfare of the animals with whom we live. Animal welfare should therefore be central in the sustainability debate: sustanimalism. With this in mind, we need to initiate further the study of sustainable human-animal relationships, coupled with promoting action to improve the well-being of animals. In this presentation, human-animal relationships will be linked to concepts and tools from sustainability science and some examples – biodiversity, zoos and pets – will be discussed. 

Pim Martens (www.pimmartens.info) holds the chair 'Sustainable Development' at Maastricht University (Netherlands) and is a professor extraordinary at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He is the (founding) Director of the Maastricht University Graduate School of Sustainability Science (MUST). Apart from his scientific work, Pim Martens is also a scientivist, intending to contribute to a better, more sustainable society.
Pim Martens is founder of AnimalWise, a “think and do tank” integrating scientific knowledge and animal advocacy to bring about sustainable change in our relationship with animals.

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