Tag Archives: animals

UC researchers lead the focus on Decolonizing Animals

The first conference of the Australasian Animal Studies Association to be held in Aotearoa New Zealand takes place in Ōtautahi Christchurch this week, following a successful bid from UC’s New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies (NZCHAS) and TourismNZ.

Located at The Piano from 1-4 July, Decolonizing Animals focuses on human-animal interactions and in particular, indigenous approaches to such relationships.

Some 150 national and international academics will be in attendance, including renowned scholars on topics such as decolonialism and the environment, veganism and sustainability, feral and introduced versus native species and the place of animals in literature, art and film. 

As Director of NZCHAS, UC Professor Annie Potts is thrilled to have Kirsty Dunn, Ngata Centenary Doctoral Scholar and postgraduate member of NZCHAS, as a keynote speaker at the event.

Kirsty will share her PhD research ’Into the Dark, We Are Moths’ – Representing and Reimagining Animals in Māori Writing in English, on the opening night of the conference, which will also feature a keynote address from acclaimed author Witi Ihimaera. 

She will also run a panel on Māori perspectives on plant-based food ethics.

Kirsty Dunn, Ngata Centenary Doctoral Scholar and postgraduate member of NZCHAS.

Kirsty was previously recognised by the Australasian Animal Studies Association for her research on Māori plant-based food ethics, receiving the award for best postgraduate paper at their 2017 conference in Adelaide.

NZCHAS brings together scholars whose research is concerned with the conceptual and material treatment of animals in culture, society and history. Professor Potts looks forward to showcasing UC’s unique NZCHAS teaching and research programme as well as the Centre’s new doctoral degree in Human-Animal Studies (HAS) at the conference. UC is the only university in the southern hemisphere offering a PhD in HAS.

The PhD programme, convened by UC Professor Philip Armstrong, is attracting high-calibre candidates from within Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world.

“We are over the moon at the enthusiasm of the postgraduate students coming through,” Professor Potts says.

Decolonizing Animals: Australasian Animals Studies Conference
1-4 July 2019
The Piano, 156 Armagh Street, Ōtautahi Christchurch

The work of both Kirsty and Professor Annie Potts will be featured in the upcoming 2018 Research Report, which demonstrates the breadth of UC’s research into the future of food through food equity, food intelligence and food innovation, from across the extensive range of disciplines available at the University.

Animals on Campus Policy – what you need to know

Following careful consideration of concerns relating to the presence of dogs in UC buildings, a decision was made to establish an Animals on Campus Policy which allows animals on campus if restrained, and restricts access to animals in UC buildings except for exceptional circumstances that have been approved by the Vice-Chancellor.

The starting point for the policy was to consider the health and safety of all staff and students, including phobias and allergies triggered by the close proximity of animals. All staff should have the right to a safe and healthy working environment.

Since the policy was announced, the Vice-Chancellor has received a total of nine requests to allow ten animals into buildings. In two of these occasions, medical evidence was provided explaining the animal concerned supported the wellbeing of a staff member.

The general argument from these requests is that the animal concerned (mainly but not exclusively dogs) has regularly come into UC buildings, in some cases for a number of years, and it would be inconvenient if a past practice was not allowed to continue. The requests assert that these animals have never caused a problem and in some cases, written support has also been provided by colleagues in close proximity to the animal concerned.

No requests have been made for a certified support animal, such as a seeing eye dog, or a dog to support the hearing impaired etc.  

The Vice-Chancellor concluded that a strict interpretation of the policy is the only way to ensure consistent and fair treatment and therefore advised all applicants that they were no longer able to bring their animals into UC buildings.

He did however offer a transition period, strictly for those that had already submitted an exemption request, which will end on 31 December 2018. Staff were strongly encouraged to contact their HR Advisor for other ways UC can provide support with emotional health and wellbeing.

For more, please refer to the Animals on Campus Policy, now available from the Policy Library>

Supporting FAQs:

  1. Why is there a need for this policy?
    To ensure we meet our obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act and to provide a framework for balancing the needs and wellbeing of all people on campus.
  2. Who is liable if an animal on campus injures a student, staff member, or another animal: is it the animal’s owner, or the University?
    It is possible that SMT members, Council members and the animal’s owner will all be liable.
  3. Are injuries caused by animals on campus (registered or unregistered) covered by ACC?
    Probably, but that’s for ACC to determine on a case by case basis.
  4. Is it possible to make a case to the Vice-Chancellor for a psychological support animal?
    Possibly, although it is determined on a case by case basis. An individual student or staff member’s preferences and needs will be balanced with those of others on campus, the operational business needs and other matters set out in the policy. If the animal is a disability support dog that is certified by one of the organisations listed in the policy then VC approval will not be required.
  5. If it is possible to make a case for a psychological support animal, will a medical certificate from  a GP, counsellor or psychologist suffice?
    It will be determined on a case by case basis. A clear diagnosis is more compelling than a letter of support from a GP, as most pet owners could suggest their animal provides them with psychological support. Other potential methods of supporting a staff member’s wellbeing will also be taken into account.

Paul O’Flaherty
Executive Director of Human Resources | Kaihautū Matua Pūmanawa Tangata

How can you be fond of thousands of anything? Animals (especially sheep) and the history of New Zealand emotions

Associate Professor Philip Armstrong (English)

‘Is it not animal emotions that make our feelings intelligible?’ asks Alphonso Lingis. Certainly, the study of human-animal relationships cannot be undertaken without attentiveness of questions of affect, but there are also many areas in the history of human emotions – more than might appear at first glance – that turn out to be intensely affected by concepts of animality, by assumptions about differences between humans and animals, or by actual animals themselves. These relationships have only recently begun to be investigated in both historical and contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand. In this paper I will try to draw out some of the discoveries and conundrums emerging from such investigations. My examples will mostly relate to that most ubiquitous, symbolically over-determined, and yet trivialised of all New Zealand animals: Ovis aries, the domestic sheep. Read more…

  • Date: Wednesday 30 September 2015, 02:00PM to 30 September 2015, 03:00PM
  • Location: Room 612, Karl Popper building, Ilam Campus