Redlands University Launches Major in Human and Animal Studies

Newswise – Have you ever wondered what your dog is thinking or if cows have feelings? Are you interested in the reasons for animal behavior and want to know more about them? The University of Redlands new Human-Animal Studies specialization might be for you.

Human Animal Studies (HAST) began in Redlands 20 years ago as a four-week course in May. Since then it has grown in popularity and the U of R now offers College of Arts and Sciences students the opportunity to specialize in the field.

“HAST is an interdisciplinary field that examines the complex and multidimensional relationships between humans and other animals,” said professor of psychology Catherine Salmon, program director. “This is interdisciplinary work in the social sciences, the humanities and the natural sciences. “

The launch of HAST as a major places the U of R at the forefront of education in the field. Currently, only eight other institutions in the United States offer HAST majors to undergraduate students, said Kathie Jenni, professor of philosophy, one of the architects and promoters of the program; with the major launch of HAST in the fall semester of 2021, the U of R will be the only one on the west coast. Yet scholarship and interest in HAST is growing rapidly due to concerns about climate change, animal welfare, and the growing number of pet owners.

“We see the major as a distinctive program,” Jenni said, “that can attract students to the U of R who otherwise would not have considered us and who hope to enter one of the many careers related to animals. . Every year, students have told us that they have come to U of R because we offer [HAST] and their other top schools have not.

That’s why Kaila Ferrari ’17, now senior digital content specialist at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, chose Redlands. “I haven’t seen other universities offering courses that cover animal ethics and the human-animal relationship. I knew I wanted to do something related to wildlife conservation, and it seemed important to understand the field both from a scientific perspective and from a human impact perspective. “

Meghan O’Sullivan ’17, now a doctor of veterinary medicine, said she has learned a lot about the human-animal bond which benefits her veterinary career. “It opened my eyes to bigger issues in the animal kingdom across the seas and in our own country, and it helped me understand the perspective and expectations that many owners have. today vis-à-vis their pets, which is crucial for my work. “

The list of jobs related to HAST is long, Salmon said, and includes work in administration, fundraising, marketing, outreach, humanitarian or environmental education, protection. animals, development, policy, research, animal-assisted therapy, etc.

Salmon said that at its core, HAST is about the relationships between us and non-human animals – and those relationships play a vital role in our lives.

“For some people, animals, especially pets, play an important emotional and social role in our lives. For some people, animals are a source of fear or loathing (which may be motivated by physical danger or worry about illness, etc.), and for others, they are a source of nutrition. But we all engage in some sort of relationship with various non-human animals in our lifetimes. HAST is becoming a major force in understanding these relationships and hopefully will lead to more positive relationships at all levels. “

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