In many countries and universities there is an increasing attention paid towards the study of interaction and co-existence between human and animals. There is an increasing awareness of the complexities of human-animal relations, as we have a growing knowledge about the life-worlds of animals, their different cultures and biologies. Applying this knowledge in day-to-day activities, with changing norms and values for an ethically and environmentally sustainable future, requires a continuous exchange across disciplinary boundaries.
Zooanthropology is a discipline that has become a result of different field of studies regarding the development of our relationship with other animals. It is a post-humanistic discipline and therefore enters into a different category from other models of animal-human interaction. It investigates the relationship dynamics between animal and human.
“Applied zooanthropology” transforms the theoretical concepts into practice and day-to-day activities, to improve the quality of the relationship, to resolve relationship conflicts and to improve animal and human wellbeing, through the affiliative-cognitive paradigm. Applied zooanthropology has its roots in the field of cognitive ethology, where the animal is seen as a subject, a sentient being, with awareness and cognitive abilities, allowing a quality of life approach that takes physical, emotional and mental aspects into account.
For animal wellbeing and quality of life, it is necessary to create this kind of awareness, considering the animal as a socio-cognitive, sentient being. This allows space in a new understanding and new values in our co-existence with animals, not limited by the weight and resistance of the conventional world, but inspired by the new possibilities that this understanding could create.