19 December 2016

HEALTH - Government Pet Policies and the One Health Movement

The One Health movement focuses on the connections between human, animal and environmental health.

It is about collaborations between physicians, osteopathic physicians, veterinarians, dentists, nurses and other scientific-health and environmentally related disciplines.

University of Calgary researchers are drawing on the One Health model to help build a framework to guide the development and assessment of government policies on pets.

Applications of One Health range from infectious disease control to dog-walking for physical activity and social engagement, to the social justice implications of cultural ideas about human-animal relationships.

It looks at pets from a pet-owner’s perspective as well as the point of view of someone who doesn’t care for animals.

“We are interested in how the wording and implementation of local governments’ policies on pets could minimize the potential for harm while maximizing the benefits of pets in cities,” says Melanie Rock, Joint Associate Professor at the Cumming School of Medicine’s Department of Community Health Sciences and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Ecosystem and Public Health.

The researchers believe “A reconceptualization of healthy cities as entailing multispecies collectivities is needed because—increasingly and worldwide—people, domesticated animals and wildlife live in urbanized societies.”

Five intersecting spheres of activity, each associated with local governments' jurisdiction over pets, are presented in the research: (i) preventing threats and nuisances from pets, (ii) meeting pets' emotional and physical needs, (iii) procuring pets ethically, (iv) providing pets with veterinary services and (v) licensing and identifying pets.

Join the webinar - Pets, People and Urban Places - on January 26th to learn more about Rock’s research and how it can inform policies that could lead to better lives for people, pets and wildlife in cities.

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