ISAZ 2018

Symposium 10

Anthrozoology as symbiotic ethics and the ethics of anthrozoological research 

Date: Thursday 5th July
Time: 1:30 pm - 3:15 pm
Room:  Galah Room (Dry Teaching Room 1.3)

Chairs: Samantha Hurn & Alexander Badman-King

University of Exeter, Exeter, DEVON, United Kingdom

The proposed symposium starts from the position that Anthrozoology is (or should be) an ethical pursuit. We place emphasis on (i) an empathetic ‘living with’ (symbiosis) or alongside other animals (either physically, for example with companion animals, or indirectly, for example through ethical consumerism); (ii) a respect for them as autonomous subjects; (iii) an attempt to grasp, wherever possible, their perspectives as well as those of our human subjects, and (iv) a holistic understanding of the context within which interactions occur. Moreover, we suggest that (v) academic research concerned with understanding these multi-species interactions should have some meaningful, practical application and ultimately improve the lives of ALL our research subjects, not just the human ones.

We therefore suggest that Anthrozoology might benefit from an ‘ethical intervention’ which a) brings the science of human-animal relations into more sustained and productive dialogue with debates around ethics/moral responsibilities which have been explored at length in other disciplines (e.g. anthropology, philosophy), and b) develops an ethical framework or series of guidelines for the conduct of anthrozoological research (for an example see ASA 2011).

This 1 hour 45 minute symposium will include several speakers, and time for general discussions. Details of the individual presentations are provided below. We aim to explore the implications of such a proposal via a series of short (10 min each) position pieces from members of the University of Exeter's 'Anthrozoology as Symbiotic Ethics (EASE) working group' outlining a range of approaches to ‘anthrozoological ethics in practice’, followed by a roundtable discussion to establish the parameters for a set of ‘Ethical Guidelines for Anthrozoological Research’. It is envisioned that this discussion will continue via social media after the conference for a set period of consultation, culminating in the collation of a draft set of guidelines for consideration by the ISAZ board.

The symposium will be divided as follows:

  1. S. Hurn (10 mins): Research ethics and the need for ethical guidelines
  2. A. Badman-King (10 mins): Symbiotic ethics
  3. J. Groling (10 mins): Advocacy and activism
  4. F. Eason (10 mins): Ethics of care
  5. T. Rice (10 mins): Sensory ethics/bioacoustics
  6. I. Tacey (10 mins): Polyvocal research
  7. S. North (10 mins): Animal-computer interaction
  8. All (20 mins): Roundtable discussion – compiling ethical guidelines for anthrozoological research.


(2011). Ethical Guidelines for good research practice. [last accessed 13th January 2018]